Flood victims are facing hefty insurance increase

The Oxford Times: MOVING OUT: Witney Warehouse director Gary Soame MOVING OUT: Witney Warehouse director Gary Soame

FIRMS are facing astronomical insurance rises after being affected by the floods.

Gary Soame, a director of Witney Warehouse, a furniture retailer on the West End Industrial Estate, said he was counting the cost of increased insurance rates after consecutive years of flooding.

He said: “We’ve been flooded four times in total over the last two years and haven’t traded at all this year.

“Our excess has gone from £500 to £20,000, because no one else will insure us.

“We wonder if we’ve even got that much worth in the stock. It’s crazy prices.”

As a direct result of flooding, the business is moving to the Windrush Industrial Park in Burford Road and he hopes to officially open there next month.

On Monday Prime Minister David Cameron announced a £10m pledge for councils to help some businesses hit by the extreme weather.

And Oxfordshire County Council is expected to be told tomorrow how much of the money it will share.

Eligible businesses will be able to claim funding for immediate clean-up costs, materials, and exceptional costs to help them continue trading.

The Government will allocate funding to local authorities on the basis of an assessment of the number of businesses affected by the floods However some are sceptical that they will ever see money, and are concerned that the promise is “too little, too late.”

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Paul Winters’ company, Kidlington Caravans, has flooded twice in two years.

In January flood waters again breached his warehouse and damaged items he was storing for a friend.

He said: “To be honest I don’t have a lot of faith in politicians when they say they are going to sort this out.

“It makes a nice picture opportunity for them when they come and see the damage, but the smaller hamlets and villages often get overlooked/”

Harish Dhariwal, manager of the Mediterranean Fish Bar in Abingdon Road, Oxford, said: “They really need to sort Abingdon Road out, that’s where the major problems are.”

Jalal Khan, 49, from Bullstake Close, said he can no longer get flood insurance for his house.

Abingdon Road resident Arthur Shefford, 72, said when he gave insurance companies his postcode they didn’t want to know. Mr Shefford said: “Nobody wants to know this area.”

Eric Tondine, manager of the Perch pub at Binsey said the company would not be making any claim against its insurance because it would just push the premium up.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said it would be surprised if anyone in Oxford was unable to get insurance to cover flooding.

Spokesman Malcolm Tarling said: “I’m not aware of that problem, but it may be there are some insurers who charge a premium that some people find it difficult to afford.”

 

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