PEOPLE at risk of flooding could be left in “financial ruin”

as discussions between the Government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) stall.

It is feared that people will no longer be able to afford their policies unless an agreement is reached to replace the Statement of Principles for flood insurance, which expires next year, leaving 200,000 people across the UK without cover.

Charles Tucker, chairman of the National Flood Forum and Mayor of Pershore, said: “It’s bad enough just to be flooded.

Being hit with a four-figure insurance premium adds insult to injury.

“And being refused insurance could spell financial ruin for thousands.”

The flood forum believes it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that a clear framework is in place with the insurance industry for flood risk insurance.

Insurance chiefs said the talks had reached a “crisis point” and claim negotiations have hit an impasse.

But floods minister Richard Benyon insisted the Government remained “really determined”

to reach a deal and the issue was an “absolute priority”

for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Mary Dhonau, community flood consultant, said a lack of agreement would lead to a free market with insurance companies able to refuse anyone deemed ‘high risk’.

She said: “I want the Government and the insurance industry to remember it is not about them, it is about flood victims at the end of the day.”