Help at hand for flood-hit Hawick householders unable to afford bumper insurance bills

Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall in Mansfield Road, Hawick, with leaflets about flood insurance.
Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall in Mansfield Road, Hawick, with leaflets about flood insurance.
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Hawick residents can expect a knock on the doors over the next few days from volunteers passing on advice that could help save them a small fortune.

Members of Hawick Volunteer Flood Group have been going around house to house since last Saturday to make people aware of a UK Government-backed flood reassurance scheme known as Flood Re.

It is making cheaper home insurance available to people whose properties are most at risk of flooding.

With Hawick still counting the cost of Storm Desmond in December 2015 and a town flood protection scheme some years off, the scheme is seen as an ideal opportunity for townsfolk to get themselves covered in case of a repeat performance.

Stuart Marshall, chairman of the volunteer flood group, says he knows of many people in the town who do not have insurance because of the massive excesses that apply, and it is believed that about 1,000 households in the town could take advantage of the initiative.

Mr Marshall, also a councillor for Hawick and Denholm, said: “On Saturday we launched a massive door-to-door exercise in the town, and during the next 10 days or so, our group will be delivering a leaflet with vital information on how 1,000 householders can take full advantage of the Government-backed Flood Re scheme.

“This scheme is designed to offer all those who are most at risk from flooding a chance to gain cheaper home insurance with affordable excesses.

“The scheme has already been backed by more than 90% of British insurers, and with that level of support, I am confident it will be very competitive indeed.

“I am delighted that the volunteer flood group is right at the front of supporting this fantastic scheme, and hopefully those who receive these leaflets will read them very carefully as not only are we targeting those homes specifically, but more importantly it may also help to gain them access to affordable flood insurance.

“I know many people in the town who don’t have insurance for flooding simply because they just can’t afford the massive excesses that apply. This scheme is designed to take that burden away.”

Flood Re was successfully launched in April last year, and a drop-in session to promote it was also staged at Hawick Rugby Club last month.

Flood Re allows insurers to make affordable home insurance available even for those households that have suffered flooding in the past.

An important part of the Flood Re scheme is to provide information to consumers about how to increase their understanding of their level of flood risk and how they can take action to reduce that risk.

The scheme will be in place for a further 23 years and is designed to enable flood cover to be affordable for those households at highest risk of flooding and increase availability and choice of insurers for customers.

It will also allow time for the Government, local authorities, insurers and communities to become better prepared for flooding and create a level playing field for new entrants and existing insurers.