Householders priced out

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A SOCIAL enterprise has expressed its disgust at rocketing flood insurance premiums for Morpeth residents.

DAWN Advice believes the rising costs are irresponsible and pricing householders out of the protection they need.

A recent survey by the Morpeth Flood Action Group found that the average increase in building and contents premiums between 2008 and 2010 for owner-occupier households that were flooded in September 2008 was 71 per cent — up from about £400 to more than £600.

In some cases they have gone up by as much as 300 per cent.

In the aftermath of the flooding, Blagdon-based DAWN Advice and the town’s Citizens Advice Bureau helped scores of residents who found themselves without appropriate insurance cover and faced repair bills of thousands of pounds.

DAWN Advice Chief Executive Liz Chadwick said: “This will create an insurance vacuum in Morpeth where the majority of residents are unlikely to be able to afford the premiums or where claiming will be pointless because of the size of the excess.

“Yes, insurance companies are businesses that need to make money, but they should not be charging rates that will simply prevent people from taking out policies.

“These companies could not be making it any clearer that they do not want any business from residents and businesses in Morpeth.

“What happened in 2008 was at least a one-in-50-year flood, people in Morpeth should not be treated as if this was an annual occurrence. Furthermore, the premiums do not appear to reflect the improved flood protection and warning systems that have been put into place across Northumberland since 2008.”

l Petition forms can be signed at the Morpeth Herald office in Newgate Street, Morpeth Library, the Town Hall, Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre, Morpeth Chantry, churches and businesses. A form is also printed here.

Letters to the Environment Agency Board can be sent to Vanessa Braidwood, 10 Queen Street, Morpeth, NE61 1TX.