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Businesses refused insurance to get 'quick' payments for severe weather flood damage

The scheme is for businesses and organisations who have been refused insurance.
Nov 27th 2018, 7:00 AM 15,162 5

A PAYMENT SCHEME that would see small businesses, community, voluntary and sporting bodies affected by flooding get quick payments is going before Cabinet today.

The scheme will be demand-led and aimed at businesses and organisations who experience flood damage to their premises as a result of a severe weather event and who have been refused flood insurance.

Applicants will receive a “quick” payment which will be capped at an upper limit of €5,000. However, while the cap of €5,000 is likely to meet the requirements of the majority of applicants there is scope for a further payment of up to €15,000 after a more detailed assessment of the loss incurred.

Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, as well as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, are seeking Cabinet approval for the support scheme.

In the past, the Department of Defence operated temporary humanitarian support schemes in conjunction with the Irish Red Cross following incidents of flooding.

Four such schemes have been opened since 2015 – Storm Desmond, Storm Eleanor, flooding in Donegal and Laois.

The largest sum of money was awarded for damage by Storm Desmond in 2015/16 for which €3.1 million given.

While applications to Storm Eleanor earlier this year are still being processed, payments so far have amounted to €346,000.

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All schemes have operated on an ad-hoc basis, which has left some who experience regular threats of flood waters worried about funding schemes and when payments will be made. The worries are particularly strong among those who are not deemed eligible for insurance.

This new flood relief scheme will be placed on a permanent footing and administered by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

It is understood the government felt a permanent plan was needed in order to “give clarity and assurances to businesses who cannot obtain insurance to protect themselves against flooding”.

While the new scheme will provide payments, the Irish Red Cross will continue to administer applications for assistance in accordance with a memorandum of understanding due to be agreed with Business.

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Christina Finn


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