Official figures, which revealed that 2012 was the second wettest year in the UK since records began, show how big a concern flood risk is for insurers, according to Deloitte.
Provisional Met Office data published yesterday showed that last year saw 1330.7mm of rainfall in the UK, just 6.6mm short of the record set in 2000. Last year was the wettest year on record for England, the third wettest for Wales, 17th wettest for Scotland and 40th wettest for Northern Ireland.
For the UK as a whole, four of the five wettest years since national records began in 1910 have occurred since 2000, leading the Met Office to state that preliminary evidence suggests the UK may be getting slightly more rain in total and it may be falling in more intense bursts.
David Hindley, insurance partner at Deloitte, said the figures served as a further reminder of the impact flood risk could have on the insurance industry. 'Insurers will have to consider whether their flood risk data and models are detailed enough to make effective pricing and underwriting decisions for individual properties,' he said.
Last month, consultancy Aon Benfield put the cost of flood losses to insurers last year at £1bn and Hindley said the Met Office data also showed the importance of agreement being reached on a new deal to provide affordable insurance for households at high-risk of flooding.
'Flooding can produce very significant claims for insurers and it is not surprising that one of the biggest concerns for household insurers is the fact that the government and insurance industry have not yet agreed a mechanism for continuing to provide affordable flood insurance for high-risk households once the current agreement expires in mid-2013. If an agreement is not reached, people in high-risk areas will find it difficult to find affordable flood cover.'
In November, the Association of British Insurers warned that talks with government over a successor to the soon-to-expire Statement of Principles had reached an 'impasse'. This week it was reported that discussions between the two parties had resumed
The rainfall totals indicate a correlation with climate change predictions and yes do cause a concern over the future of flood insurance. However the issues under consideration need to be cast wider to include water-cycle (drought-flood), built-environment/planning and behaviour
Gavin George, Director, Aquobex Limited