Caroline Spelman is a cretin

Now the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has disclosed she is in talks with the insurance industry about a scheme which could add 10 per cent to an average family’s bill.

She is proposing a levy, which could be in place within months, that would apply to all home insurance policies in an attempt to raise enough money to cover damage in the aftermath of severe flooding, which can reach billions of pounds in insurance claims.

Why do we have to have cretins running the country?

Ministers are concerned that some insurance firms are able to “cherry pick” customers in low-risk areas and refuse to offer cover to home owners in flood-prone neighbourhoods.

Yes, that\’s the fucking point.

We\’d rather like people not to live on flood plains. Because, you know, their existence is evidence that that\’s where it floods sometimes. Not being able to insure your house against floods if you live on a flood plain is what is known, in technical language, as a \”fucking clue\” that perhaps you shouldn\’t be living there.

Surely to God at least one person in government knows someone at Lloyds of London?

25 thoughts on “Caroline Spelman is a cretin”

  1. When we came to live in Mackay, we obtained a map that shows which areas are prone to flooding in the event of a storm surge. There are five differently coloured zones depending on the severity of the storm and the nature of the tide. Outside of the coloured areas are large areas of white. We bought in a white area (can you say that?) on a cliff that guarantees we won’t flood, though cyclones are a different matter. I’m assuming nobody wants to help with my cyclone insurance so I fail to see why I should help with the flood insurance of those who have built in what amount to drained swamps.

    Surely, the logical thing would be to say to developers, if you want planning permission, you have to build flood defences and you are required to provide financial assurances that they will work. If the cost of the houses is not viable under those circumstances then so be it. As far as I’m concerned, not having sewage and other crap flowing through your home on a regular basis is as important as having a roof.

  2. Surely there is a difference between higher insurance rates for new build and socialising some of the higher costs for those inadvertently living on a current flood risk area.

    After all what is the economic difference between a higher insurance levy or the government raising income tax 1% to fund higher fund defence construction.

    Other costs are socialised. People in rural Wales don’t pay less for policing than those living in central Manchester.

  3. “Caroline Spelman is a cretin”. What took you so long? Why are you so surprised that a founder- member of the Crony-ocracy comes up with a scheme to make the peasants pay for their Better’s greed and incompetence?

  4. Since policing is largely funded in the UK by a precept levied as part of the council tax, there will be variations in what people pay.

    How do you inadvertently live in a flood risk area, surely people research these things? I’d have thought a rather obvious question would be: “has this house ever flooded?” I don’t see why others should fund those who haven’t taken reasonable precautions when making a major purchase of property.

  5. Shinsei67,

    Surely there is a difference between higher insurance rates for new build and socialising some of the higher costs for those inadvertently living on a current flood risk area.

    Who “inadvertently” lives in a current flood risk area? Live half way up a hill, you’re not in a flood risk area. Live on a field next to a river, you’re in a flood risk area. It’s not rocket science.

  6. “Live half way up a hill, you’re not in a flood risk area. Live on a field next to a river, you’re in a flood risk area. It’s not rocket science.”

    Yes and no. Living next to a river is a flood risk yes, but no, living halfway up a hill doesn’t guarantee you freedom from flooding either. Because flood water doesn’t always move upwards from low ground to high ground, it often moves very rapidly from high ground to low. Thus if your house on the side of a hill is in the way of that water, you get a river running through your house. Watch some of the footage of roads turned to rivers in floods recently – its not caused by rivers over flowing, its caused by excessive heavy rain in a short period causing water to flood off higher ground, and find its way by whatever means downward. Many of the houses damaged would be well above any river flood plains.

  7. Of course, we all agree, we shouldn’t be building on flood plains, but developers do, and planners for some resaon let them!

    Sometimes they even build brand new flood defences as well… On occasions these new flood defences have simply shifted the problem (eg upstream) directly into the path of those who sensibly did not orginally build on said flood plain!

    Ie, there are often occasions when it is not the original house owner who is being incompetent when their house later gets flooded…

  8. PF,

    Of course, we all agree, we shouldn’t be building on flood plains, but developers do, and planners for some resaon let them!

    Why shouldn’t builders build on flood plains, especially if he risk of flooding is actually quite small. If people are prepared to take the risk and are aware of it then I don’t see the problem.

  9. Although it’s surely a huge failure of the planning system that allows developers to put houses on places at series flood risk, it’s hard to have sympathy for those living in newish developments built on flood plains.
    I feel sorry for those living in the small towns and villages set in valleys where flash floods hit quickly, like Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd, settlements that are several hundred years old and where the whole town is brought to a standstill. These are the places that deserve the money to be spent on defences, not some pop-up new build housing estate.

  10. @PF. Planners let them because the Establishment has bought into the Globull Warming scam big-time. The dry 80’s, 90’s and noughties allowed public amnesia to take hold over known wet areas, as “Climate Change”, as CAGW is incorrectly known, meant that we’d never see floods again. You know, like we’d never see snow after 2010. Hence true believer Caroline’s farcical attempt to make the country pay for her fantastical beliefs.

  11. Stilt houses are great for gradually-rising water levels. The sort of rapidly-moving bodies of water that Jim describes, not so much, especially if you want your house to stay put!

  12. Of course someone there knows someone at Lloyds. Who do you think stands to profit most from the government-mandated extension of insurance and further spreading of the risk involved?

  13. Most of Cambridgeshire would be under water if Anglian Water turned off its 100s of pumping machines keeping the water back. Which they’ve been doing happily for 100s of years.

    Are you taking a reckless gamble buying a house outside Ely on the expectation that Anglian Water will decide to turn off the switch ?

    There are hundreds of thousands of people living in flood risk areas where the flood risk over last 50 years has been minimal. Things have changed.

    Who makes the distinction between a reasonable flood risk and the duty of the state to provide decent flood prevention.

    How much has the rest of the country funded Londoners their very expensive Thames Barrier.

  14. More bad news in the motoring section.

    Insurance premiums for Ford Focuses are going up to £5,000 a year to subsidise Clarkson’s cover for his Bugatti Veryon.

  15. Why do we have cretins writing for “The Telegraph”? Firstly re-allocating cost between high-risk and low-risk areas will add precisely zero to the AVERAGE bill. Secondly Flood claims are nearer 1% than 10% of UK insurance premiums. Even if you assumed the sub-editors had stupidly deleted “household insurance” from the text, you would get flood losses in the last decade including the exceptional 2007 floods were 5% of household insurance premiums, the previous decade less than 2%.

  16. @ Tim Almond
    It can be inadvertent if the neighbouring local authority carries out engineering works on the river to push the occasional flood on their flood meadows downstream onto areas that hadn’t flooded in the centuries since local records began.

  17. R Richard Schweitzer

    Here again is an instance of the political “grift” of using insurance to spread costs incurred by some to be borne by others who have chosen not to expose themselves to that particular risk.

    Insurance is a transfer of risk. The business (Lloyds et al.) is the spreading of that risk. Those whose conduct (building in a particular area) engages a particular risk (forest fires, floods, earthquakes, sink holes) must pay the premiums for that risk. To the extent the premiums do not cover the risk (or that there is no adequate premium, there is a transfer of cost.

    “Insurance” has become (to paraphrase Bastiat) that great imaginary device by which everyone expects the costs of their risks to be borne by everyone else.

  18. It’s reminiscent of the mortgage issue, in that both are instances of people entering into risky home-purchasing arrangments and then, when the risks don’t pan out in their favour, hoping to be bailed out by those who made more prudent choices. I don’t get how people can make decisions involving so much money so lightly. It’s one thing to help out people who’ve suffered a loss due to events nobody could predict, but quite another to be forced to help out people who’ve suffered a loss due to events only a fool could not have predicted — especially after you have, in all likelihood, already paid a premium yourself to protect yourself against such a loss.

  19. Why are we even having this debate? In parts of the world where they have no choice but to build on flood plains, they have a very simple solution: stilts. Put your house on concrete pillars, leave the area underneath open, and you get useful covered storage and protection from floods, all for very little money.

    I don’t think the vegetation is compulsory, but here’s an example:

    http://www.fredhoogervorst.com/photo/03795324db/

    Here’s another very basic one:

    http://www.fredhoogervorst.com/oni.app/local/upload/4731089db.jpg

  20. Who “inadvertently” lives in a current flood risk area?

    It can be inadvertent if the neighbouring local authority carries out engineering works on the river to push the occasional flood on their flood meadows downstream onto areas that hadn’t flooded in the centuries since local records began.

    And improving coastal defences in one area can increase risk of flooding in other areas.

  21. Building new developments can give rise to significantly higher flood risks in already established residential areas which have never flooded in the past.
    The newly installed hard surfaces cause all the incident rain to run straight into the drainage system, and from there into streams and rivers, which can not cope with the sudden increase in flow.
    Inland from our house, we would often see waterlogged fields, and that water would take days to filter through the soil, into the streams. Now, that is all concrete, and all the runoff arrives in the streams all at once, and downstream areas are getting flooded for the first time.

  22. By my life and beard, if only Caroline Spelman had been around during my great trial and tribulation. Forty days, it was! And forty nights! Could she also have a word with the insurance companies about all these bloody animals I have to deal with. They came in two-by-two, but even the bloody pandas breed like rabbits.

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