For most homeowners, arranging your building and contents insurance is just another annual chore to tick off the list.

But for the 350,000 British households at risk of flooding, finding affordable cover is anything but easy.

A new scheme set up by the government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) should provide some relief for those living in flood risk areas. 

Flood Re will enable insurers to offer more competitive premiums and lower excesses to consumers, even those whose homes are at the highest risk. 

The scheme, which launched yesterday, will not deal directly with consumers but will instead work with insurance companies to create affordable policies.

Its launch follows a number of recent milestones including the approval of the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRE) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

This should make flood cover more affordable and accessible to those in high flood risk areas over time

Brendan McCafferty, chief executive, Flood Re
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Flood Re will act as a pool of money that will be used by insurers to pay out on successful claims in the event of a flood. 

It is being funded by the flood part of household insurance and a surcharge on all building and contents insurance policies – effectively a levy on the industry. 

Homeowners in flood risk areas should start seeing a reduction in their premiums as insurers sign up to the scheme. 

Brendan McCafferty, chief executive of Flood Re, said: “I am delighted to announce that Flood Re is now live and ready to accept policies.

Homeowners in flood risk areas should see a reduction in their insurance premiums. Image by northallertonman/Shutterstock.com

“We have been working tirelessly to ensure we’re ready so that consumers can start benefiting from greater choice and more competition in the insurance market.

“This should make flood cover more affordable and accessible to those in high flood risk areas over time.

“Consumers should check the Flood Re website to see which insurers are signed up, speak to their current insurer and be prepared to shop around.

"When buying a policy they should make sure it is the best one for them, not just the cheapest.”

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: "It’s great to see so many insurers ready to make use of Flood Re from launch.

"[This] is just the start of a process and we know more providers will join them over time, bringing even more choice for people with homes at risk of flooding.

"Insurance is an essential safeguard for your home and belongings. People in flood risk areas not being able to access affordable cover was a major concern, and why the insurance industry went to great lengths to design and create this world-first solution along with government."

Speaking in November 2015, when the regulations for Flood Re came into force, floods minister Rory Stewart said access to affordable flood insurance can give people peace of mind. 

“Flood Re will for the first time ensure access to affordable flood insurance for people regardless of where they live. 

“Today marks an important step for Flood Re as the regulations come into force and give it the means to protect people from spiralling insurance premiums.”