Cost to industry of recent flooding is already close to £3bn says Association of British Insurers

The government must channel more money into flood protection, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has claimed.

It warned that some areas are so saturated that even normal rainfall could trigger further flooding, in a letter to Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.

The ABI pointed out that the cost to the insurance industry so far has been nearly £3 billion. It claims that in order to combat similar crises in the future, an additional £150m needs to be pledged by the government for flood defences than has already been set aside.

Stephen Haddrill, ABI director general, said in the letter: “Some defences will have been put under great pressure in recent events and will need to be checked and possibly strengthened.”

In some places, drains and watercourses have been blocked due to bad maintenance, according to the ABI. Flooding therefore occurred which had not been predicted by the Environment Agency’s flood-risk maps.

Haddrill said: “We believe that an urgent review is needed of how best to maintain urban and rural drainage.”

He added: “The Environment Agency cannot predict what will happen unless it knows about the state of the drains and other facilities not under its control.”