Cumbria

Anger for Cumbrian householders over floods insurance snub

  • 18 March 2016
  • From the section Cumbria
Damaged household goods on the street after the Carlisle floods Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Flood waters caused havoc in Carlisle in December with furniture and household goods ruined

Householders in Cumbria whose properties were damaged by Storm Desmond floods have hit out after having their insurance policies voided - meaning they will receive no money to repair their homes.

Flood support workers estimate about 80 people in the county are affected.

Insurance company Integra said some customers gave inaccurate information.

Those whose policies have been declared worthless are pinning their hopes on an appeal to the industry ombudsman.

Steven Boyd, of Carlisle, told the BBC that Integra informed him his policy was void as he lives in an area that had previously been flooded and he had not paid a flood premium.

Three months after his property was stripped in a clean-up operation, he and his wife are living in their upstairs rooms and have no hot water. He is looking at using money from his pension fund to pay for repairs.

However, insurance expert Joel Zimelstern said he understands Mr Boyd should not have had to declare his property as being at risk due to flood prevention measures having been installed by the Environment Agency in recent years.

Image caption Steven Boyd's policy was voided three months after flood waters damaged his home

Paul Hendy, of the Carlisle Flood Recovery Centre, is taking a number of cases to the ombudsman on behalf of those whose claims have been voided.

He said: "It's bad enough going through a flood, it's bad enough having your home stripped out, it's bad enough losing all your personal possessions in a skip.

"We have people in the centre sobbing their eyes out because this is unreal."

Carlisle's Conservative MP John Stevenson said: "In most cases I'm seeing it's innocent error - they've just made a small mistake.

"I think these companies should have been aware if it was a flood area and if they had any issues when somebody signed up they should have gone back to the person who took out the policy."

He is appealing for anyone affected to contact him.

Integra said it does not discuss customers' details with the media.

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