Insurance bill shoots through the roof

AN ELDERLY couple's insurance bill for their coastal home has rocketed by almost 250% after their property was deemed a flood risk.But Frank and June Scoble yesterday claimed the rise was unreasonable because their property was not under direct threat and was protected by a 25ft embankment.

AN ELDERLY couple's insurance bill for their coastal home has rocketed by almost 250% after their property was deemed a flood risk.

But Frank and June Scoble yesterday claimed the rise was unreasonable because their property was not under direct threat and was protected by a 25ft embankment.

The couple, who live just off The Street, Walberswick, said the monthly cost had risen from £19.92 to £47.47, or £569.63 a year.

Mr Scoble, 72, who is terminally ill with cancer, contacted their insurer Norwich Union to plead his case.


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"They said no," he said. "They said that was the policy and that was that."

With the firm refusing to budge the couple sought alternative insurers. But despite weeks of searching, no one else was prepared to take them on because of a claim they had made after a tree root damaged pipe work.

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Mrs Scoble, 69, is the carer for her husband, and her 92-year-old mother.

"We were in the flood area before and it just doesn't make sense," she said. "There's a sea wall right behind the house that is as high as the house so the whole of the rest of the village would have to be flooded before we would get touched."

She said the house was virtually untouched by the great flood of 1953 and added that pipes had been moved above ground to get rid of the risk from the tree roots.

"The thing is that the family has lived in this house for more than 300 years and we are no more or less at risk now than we have ever been," she added.

And last night, Norwich Union said it would review the premium if new information about the flood risk became available.

The firm admitted that flood risk information was applied on a postcode basis and said that they would review the situation if the couple could provide evidence of flood protection.

The insurance giant is maintaining that Environment Agency statistics and a subsidence problem justify the hike.

Liz Kennett, a spokeswoman for Norwich Union, said new flood risk figures had been applied to a series of policies in recent months that had changed the premiums.

She added that a claim made by the Scobles to cover a subsidence problem had also affected their premium.

"We are not saying it's a closed case and they could ask the Environment Agency to give them information about their specific property," she said. "That's something we would happily review."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said flood risk reports on individual properties were available and cost £25.

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