NERG Seminar: Flood!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

North East institutes tackle flooding

The North East Regional Group (NERG) recently held an afternoon CPD session for over 120 delegates at the Carriageworks theatre in Leeds focusing on Flood. The group consists of 8 local institutes, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne down to Sheffield, who come together each year to provide a joint technical CPD seminar for their members. This year a range of excellent speakers sort to develop the delegates' thoughts on: why flooding occurs; how it can be prevented; the most efficient ways to reinstate displaced customers; how Flood Re will work.

Mike Bond BA (Hons) FCII FCILA FUEDI ELAE, Associate Director at VRS VeriClaim and President of the Insurance Institute of Sheffield, chaired the afternoon and started the session with a summary of Flood Re including: how it will work; who will be able to be a part of it, noting that it is not commercial or for houses built since 2009; why it came about.

Simon Waller BEng CEng MICE, Managing Director of JBA Risk Management, the first guest speaker then moved the seminar on to a brief history of flooding, from the Dale Dyke Reservoir flood in Sheffield in 1864 which killed 270 people. Significant events also included the East coast floods of 1953 which were instrumental in changing UK flood policy and, of course mostly recently, the 2013/2014 winter storms which flooded 5,000 properties and caused up to £1 billion in losses. With his expertise in flood mapping, Simon, covered how far more serious flood events are happening more frequently, although interestingly annual levels of rainfall and rain flows have not altered dramatically in the last 250 years. This was qualified by noting that measured increases in sea levels and air temperatures have been recorded and that climate change models predict three times more heavy winter rainfall days by 2080. Since the floods of 1998 insurers are now using improved flood mapping data.

The delegates then heard about flood from a loss adjusters view from Paul Richardson BA (Hons), ACII, FCILA, MCMI, UK Technical & Development Manager, General Property for Crawford & Company. Paul discussed the top challenges faced by loss adjusters during flood claims, with suggestions of how these challenges can be met and how developed processes can improve the client and customer experience.

Flood from the brokers perspective was shared by Steve Grantham M.A. (Cantab) FCII, Chief Executive at Cooke & Mason. Steve gave a lively insight into how the industry can focus on seeing things from the policy holders' perspective and ensuring that customers have the most comprehensive cover possible. Reflecting upon the last 20 years, Steve reviewed how various government and local council policies and decisions could have affected current possible flood areas, and suggested risk management based solutions. Steve highlighted particular individual details of Flood Re and assessed how these could affect clients.

The final speaker for the afternoon, Dr Greg French, Managing Director of Davies French & Associates, explored the issues around drying flooded properties. From the media hype around flooded areas and contaminated water and how we can help deal with these ideas. Greg explained how the current moisture measuring devices used by the industry work and how restoration companies decide on restoration or destruction, emphasising that stripping out should not be the default position. Delegates were taken through the steps to dry out wet materials using various types of drying machinery, including specialist speed dryers, and looked at a case study to support their use, and other issues which can make the drying process more difficult and complicated.

The afternoon was rounded off with the panel of speakers answering questions from the delegates, with many of the answers focusing on putting the customer first. Lead organiser Veronica Wilkinson Cert CII, commented "We are really pleased with the number of delegates who attended the seminar and the quality speakers who gave their time and shared their knowledge. NERG aims to support our North East members locally and we will definitely be continuing to provide an annual technical seminar as initial feedback has been very positive from the members." Delegates attending the seminar also raised £85 with their contributions to The Insurance Charities.