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Uncovering flood and climate change risk to newbuilds in the UK

In Insights, Insurance News, Mortgage and Valuations News, Property News, Whitepapers by Stephanie Brain


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Uncovering flood and climate change risk
to newbuilds in the UK


Discover what Ambiental’s risk database of all UK properties is revealing about the current and future risk to properties built since 2009.



There is a recognised need across the insurance industry to understand the flood risk to new developments and to quantify exposure to risk. This is especially important in the case of residential properties built from 2009 onwards. Flood Re (short for flood re-insurance) is a levy and pool system in the United Kingdom, which replaced the Statement of Principles agreed between the government and insurance companies to provide flood insurance coverage to domestic properties deemed at significant risk of flooding.

Properties built since 2009 are not eligible for Flood Re and therefore when properties are built in areas of flood risk this represents a growing ‘protection gap’ of properties potentially unable to obtain affordable insurance. This report is intended to help quantify the extent of this emerging risk.

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Key findings of the report:

  • Since 2009 more than 187,000 properties have been built in locations with flood risk.
  • Since 2009 over 50,000 properties have been built in locations with high and very high flood risk.
  • Of the properties analysed 5,464 were found to have the highest possible level of risk.

Whilst the study findings are revelatory, it is feasible that some properties considered as being at risk will have localised flood mitigations applied such as defences, or habitable areas elevated above the flood plain which are not accounted for in this analysis. However, a qualitative study of the results suggests that the majority of risk outcomes identified are corroborated by flood maps provided by the EA, SEPA and NRW.

Flood and climate change risk to newbuilds