Leitrim Village during flooding in 2009
Some homes and businesses in Leitrim Village are still being refused flood risk insurance despite major works and upgrades in the area.
The issue was raised by Fianna Fáil Deputy Eamon Scanlon in Dáil Eireann recently. He asked the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe what options are available to homeowners and businesses in Leitrim Village that are being refused flood insurance cover despite major drainage works and upgrades that have been carried out by Leitrim County Council in recent years.
Minister Donohoe, said, "I am conscious of the difficulties that the absence or withdrawal of flood insurance cover can cause to homeowners and businesses, and that is one of the reasons the Government has been prioritising investment in flood defences over the last number of years.
"However, the provision of insurance cover and the price at which it is offered is a commercial matter for insurance companies and is based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept and adequate provisioning to meet those risks. As Minister for Finance I have responsibility for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation, and neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products or have the power to direct insurance companies to provide flood cover to specific individuals or businesses. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products."
He stated, "Leitrim County Council has advised me that a number of works on flood relief in Leitrim village were completed in 2016 under the Severe Weather Allocation programme funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. I understand these works include the installation of non-return flood valves, upgrade of the surface water system and the raising and repair of roads.
"I am also informed by the OPW that Leitrim village is one of 300 Areas for Further Assessment included in OPW's Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. I understand that a preferred option to deal with the risk of flooding has been identified following local consultation and that flood risk management plans are now being finalised."
Consumers can make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman in relation to any dealings with a Financial Services or Insurance provider during which they feel they have been unfairly treated. In addition, individuals who are experiencing difficulty in obtaining flood insurance or believe that they are being treated unfairly may contact Insurance Ireland which operates a free Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to insurance.