Insurers threaten to sue over flood losses

UK insurers Norwich Union and Allianz are looking at whether they can sue water authorities for failing to prevent the floods this summer.


UK insurers Norwich Union and Allianz are looking at whether they can sue water authorities for failing to prevent the floods this summer.

The UK’s largest insurer Norwich Union has instructed Beachcroft to examine whether it can hold the water authorities liable for a gaping hole in its profit. The insurer recorded claims worth a total of £340m arising from the flooding, while Allianz recorded losses of £90m from the summer floods. Norwich Union director of claims Dominic Clayden told The Lawyer: “We’re looking at recovery prospects against the water authorities.

“We’re taking legal advice: if someone with a duty of care has been negligent, then we’ll look to recover costs.”

Allianz is yet to instruct counsel, but said the insurance sector could act collectively to reclaim losses. Such action could lead to a drawn-out legal battle over claims worth billions of pounds.

It comes as an independent review body, set up by Hull City Council, found that Yorkshire Water had ignored a series of recommendations over an 11-year period that could have limited the extent of flooding.