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Water Act 2014

Section 70: Flood insurance obligations

252.Section 70 gives the Secretary of State the power to require a relevant insurer to issue insurance policies for a prescribed number of registered premises (a “Flood Insurance Obligation”).

253.Subsections (1) to (3) give the Secretary of State the power to make regulations which require a relevant insurer to issue insurance policies that provide cover to a prescribed number of “registered premises”. Registered premises are defined in section 82(8) as properties included in the register of premises subject to greater flood risk. Insurers can be required to issue different numbers of policies for different descriptions of risk; the intention is that insurers may be required to fulfil quotas relating to both buildings and contents insurance.

254.Subsection (4) sets out factors that the regulations can specify are to be taken into account in determining the prescribed number of registered premises in respect of which a relevant insurer must issue insurance. These factors include a target number of registered premises that the Secretary of State determines under section 71(1), and the insurer’s share of insurance business of a prescribed description.

255.Subsection (5) provides for the regulations to specify how a relevant insurer’s share of insurance business should be calculated and the circumstances under which a relevant insurer may be exempt from the Flood Insurance Obligation, including by reference to the amount of business the insurer does. This subsection makes provision for regulations to set out the circumstances in which the Flood Insurance Obligation would cease to apply for a relevant insurer. This subsection also allows the regulations to specify circumstances in which a policy issued by an insurer would not count towards meeting its quota and to specify circumstances in which a relevant insurance policy issued by one insurer can count towards the Flood Insurance Obligation imposed on another relevant insurer. This subsection also makes provision for regulations to provide that properties at greater flood risk count for more, and those at lesser risk count for less, when it is being decided how many registered premises an insurer has insured.

256.Subsection (6) provides that the regulations may require an insurer to use information held by the Secretary of State, a person acting on the Secretary of State’s behalf or the Financial Conduct Authority to determine their share of insurance business.

257.Subsection (7) states that provisions allowing policies issued by one insurer to count for discharging another’s Flood Insurance Obligation should not be construed as requiring a change of insurer. Subsection (8) provides for a case where an insurer has not provided the information required by section 72 for determining whether an insurer is a relevant insurer under this section, whether an exemption applies and what share of business an insurer would be treated as having. Subsection (9) imposes a duty on the Secretary of State to consult with persons he considers appropriate before making regulations under this section. The Secretary of State expects to consult the financial regulators.

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