The evolution of UK flood insurance: incremental change over six decades

Penning-Rowsell, Edmund C. ORCID logoORCID:, Priest, Sally J. ORCID logoORCID: and Johnson, Clare L. (2014) The evolution of UK flood insurance: incremental change over six decades. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 30 (4) . pp. 694-713. ISSN 0790-0627 [Article] (doi:10.1080/07900627.2014.903166)

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In this paper, the authors' theorizing shifts away from the catalytic role of the flood itself – or other crises – towards a deeper understanding of the relationship between change and stability, taking the example of UK flood insurance and the agreements – and the implicit policy approaches – between the actors involved: private insurers and the government. The study relies upon in-depth analysis of policy agreements governing flood insurance since the 1960s, and semi-structured interviews with six current or former flood insurance professionals. The important agents of change have been, firstly, threats to existing household insurers from new entrants unencumbered by agreements to insure all comers. Secondly, technological changes have made exposure more explicit and pricing risk both easier and less expensive. The slow pace of change and the relatively stable role of the different actors and coalitions is now clearer. Many windows of opportunity created by major flooding or financial crises have not significantly affected the pace or direction of policy change. The overriding importance of the London location for – and the profitability of – the insurance industry, both to government and to the insurers, explains the extraordinary policy stability described here. This history suggests that the UK may not be a good model for imitation elsewhere.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-print version of the text.
Keywords (uncontrolled): Floods; policy evolution theory; insurance; UK
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Flood Hazard Research Centre
A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 13845
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Water Resources Development on 24 Apr 2014, available online:
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Sally Priest
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2014 15:41
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 23:20

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