Well it’s raining, again

With flooding back in the news today, I thought I’d take the opportunity to mention that my colleague and co-author Swenja Surminski from LSE will be giving evidence tomorrow morning (Thursday) at the Oireachtas Finance Committee hearings on the Flood Insurance Bill. Details of the session are here. You should be able to watch proceedings online here. The Flood Insurance Bill can be viewed here.

By Tom McDermott

I am a Government of Ireland Research Fellow at the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU), Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, and a Visiting Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. My research is at the intersection of environmental and development economics. I am co-editor with Sam Fankhauser of The Economics of Climate Resilient Development (Edward Elgar, 2016). I am also Principal Investigator for a project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency on the economic impacts of flooding in Ireland, and options for managing flood risk, including an emphasis on the role of insurance.

3 replies on “Well it’s raining, again”

Immediate reaction to reading the Act is that it’s full of vague terms and undefinable terms. Either it’s a sop for PR purposes, or it’s potentially a carte blanche to force insurers to insure properties that should not be insurable and to pass the costs on to people in unaffected areas. To use the language of the Act itself, that would be unfair.

it’s called moral hazard Hugh. There is an extensive literature in the US of A on flood insurance legislation – it creates an incentive to build on flood plains. In Ireland we do that anyway, so no worries.

I know about moral hazard. But let’s assume that it’s theoretically possible to agree sensible categories of places at flood risk. The act doesn’t even attempt it.

Most people could probably agree that buildings in a historic town centre now increasingly at flood risk are a different category than recent houses built flush to the ground in the shadow of the levees and flat on the Shannon’s flood plain or new apartment buildings with underground parking on any flood plain you’d like. The act merely suggests terms like “fair” as the rule. Strikes me as inadequate. But yeah, Ireland.

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