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Cover for Volunteers

Many parish and town councils will already have insurance covering their volunteers. Volunteer flood group members can often be added to existing policies at no extra cost provided you can demonstrate that they have been trained to act responsibly. Before you consider what roles your flood group volunteers will take on in response to the risks you have identified in your plan, you will need to check what the insurance policy allows. The Flood Risk Awareness training included in the Community Flood Preparation Cycle covers all the main factors and volunteers who have undertaken this training, and the other modules in the training section of the Cycle, will understand how to keep themselves and others safe.

An example of a community’s experience with volunteer insurance is Lostwithiel in Cornwall. The flood group had been established for some time and covered by the town council’s insurance policy. However, the insurance company withdrew the insurance from the group when it realised that that the volunteers had not received training to carry out their roles. The group undertook the training described below and the insurance was reinstated. There are caveats to the insurance, one of which is that volunteers must not handle sandbags.

Each policy is different and the needs of each community are different. You will need to check that your volunteers have adequate insurance to cover out the necessary duties identified in your Plan.

What if my flood group is not affiliated with a parish or town council?

There are some flood groups that are independent of their local government. It is possible to get insurance to cover volunteers in this case but the group will need to consider how to fund the ongoing cost of this. There are a number of companies who offer this type of insurance and can be researched online. As a rough guide, based on experience to date, groups can expect to pay around £100 per year for a policy covering a trained group of volunteers working to a plan.

Explanation of the SARAH Act

In addition to formal insurance, the SARAH Act does provide some reassurance for volunteers acting for the benefit of others.

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Finally, if volunteers are asked to undertake specific tasks by the emergency services and they follow instructions given, they will be covered by that service’s own insurance.

Household Insurance – what do volunteer wardens need to know?

Flood wardens may be asked by community members about more general flood insurance for property. There are a wide variety of policies. However, for properties experiencing repeated flooding incidents who may have found it difficult to get insurance cover, the government has introduced a scheme called Flood: Re.  Volunteers may find it helpful to familiarise themselves with how this scheme works: http://www.floodre.co.uk/homeowner/

The National Flood Forum is an invaluable source of advice on household flood insurance, dealing expertly with household flooding queries every day. Check out their website for advice on this and other flood-related issues: https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/about-flooding/insurance/household-insurance/

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