The Great Flood

When I arrived back in the UK in February 2011 the country was stricken with drought. That changed about a year later, when it began raining. It hasn’t stopped since. The country has been stricken with flooding for the last year as a result. A nightmare for insurers and home owners. The photo below is of a river going through a field near to my home.  I accidentally mapped it in Poland in Lightroom, but it is in fact in Dorset. I promise. I worked in a service station sited alongside the field for the best part of six years. It always flooded during heavy rains.

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I have to ask a few dumb questions when doing home insurance quotes. One of them is, ‘has your property, or any other properties within 3.1 miles previously suffered from flood damage’. I add a caveat, of sorts…..’to the best of your knowledge’.  I get some dumb answers to match my dumb question. Some people will tell me there hasn’t been any flooding since the great flood of 50, 100 or 200 years ago. They should probably just shut up. But they don’t, so I tick the box and send their premium shooting up.

Others just answer ‘no’. Even though I often know the answer is yes. The most responsible answer to such a dumb question? ‘What sort of a dumb question is that? Three point one miles? How am I supposed to know?’ It’s not, however, an acceptable answer. I need a yes or a no, and I either tick the box or I don’t. The insurance industry and government have a real headache on their hands with the issue of flooding, and it doesn’t look like being resolved anytime soon.

On the subject of home insurance, I have a project in the offing. A ‘dummies guide to insuring your home’ sort of a thing. An insiders guide cum expose. One thing that has become apparent to me over the last couple of years is that 99% of home owners haven’t got the slightest clue what they are doing. Customers will complain that insurers try everything to wriggle out of claims. Do you know how often I hear that? About the same amount as I hear people tell me that they haven’t read their documents because ‘no ever actually reads them, do they/  I haven’t got time to read all that stuff, there’s too much of it/ I just file them for when I need them/…’ etc.

So in summary, people who don’t know what they are insured for, and what they aren’t insured for, get upset when they find out too late what they are insured for or (more to the point) what they are not insured for. The sad fact is that the majority of home owners in the UK are dummies. They need the appropriate guide. I doubt they will read it. But for those that do want to know how to get a quote, the best price, the right cover and how not to make the silly mistakes I see people making every day, I will provide. At a cost, of course. The joy of Kindle publishing…

4 thoughts on “The Great Flood

  1. High Water! In the day, high water was a call-off from work and a day of pushing a canoe through the flooded backcounrty . We had marks painted on bridge abutments that told us if the water was high enough to pass the log jams.

    I see homes being built in areas that I canoed over 30 years ago-makes a man wonder what people are thinking.

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    1. Same problems here. But worse. Look at the size of the UK population. Then at the small patch of habitable living space. We’ve been planting tons of houses of iffy plots of land for decades.

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  2. It strikes me as rather odd that the insurance company relies on homeowners to self-report prior floods. Here in the USA, we have publicly-drawn flood maps that the insurance companies use. I’m surprised the UK doesn’t have a similar system, particularly given that it seems to have all kinds of records going back farther than in just about any other country I can think of.

    Instead of a book, why not go around the country giving a sort of stand-up comedy cum education about insurance? You could tell jokes about your stupid clients, and then slip in educational facts.

    Create an oxymoron by starting a National Hilarity Homeowners Insurance tour.

    Soon enough, young girls will be pursuing you everywhere, screaming.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are wondering whether the bay, a couple blocks away, counts as a sort of permanent flood.

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    1. Some of the things I hear are worthy of a comedy. I’ve often though Ricky Gervais could find all the material he needs for a new series of the office by spending a week on the phones. I could tell a ton of stories. But I still work there, of course, so my lips are sealed!

      Insurance companies do use post codes to assess risk, but this can produce some daft result. People on top of a massive hill can be told they’re at flood risk and charged whopping premiums based on the fact they share a postcode with people at the bottom of the hill next to a river. It’s daft.

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