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Insurance shock for Wells home owners

By ruth_ovens_1  |  Posted: February 20, 2014

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WELLS home owners might receive a shock when they come to insure their homes in the future.

Alan Hudson, 56, of Priory Place, has been refused home insurance by two different companies because he was in a potential fracking area.

Mr Hudson said: “My NatWest policy was up for renewal so I thought I would email a variety of companies asking about insuring my home against fracking.

“I explained that I needed a standard home and contents policy which will also cover me for any damage incurred by fracking.

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“I was shocked when both Legal and General, which is a huge company, and Hiscox both said they could not insure me for damage caused by fracking – Legal and General wouldn’t insure my house at all.”

The Mendips were designated as a suitable area for exploration into shale gas extraction back in 2011.

However, when the Journal contacted Somerset County Council to find out if any exploratory fracking licenses had been applied for in the Wells area we were told no applications had so far been made.

In the response from insurance company

Hiscox’s response, Mr Hudson

was told that they “would not be able to offer cover for damage caused by fracking, or for a property which is in an area subject to fracking”.

The Journal asked the Association of British Insurers (ABI) if it was aware of anyone in the UK having trouble insuring their house against possible fracking damage.

Stephen Sobey, from the ABI, said: “Unless it is specifically requested by an insurer, homeowners do not currently need to disclose their proximity to fracking sites.

“However, if it is requested by an insurer, then this does need to be disclosed.

“Damage as a result of earthquake, subsidence, heave and landslip are all covered, in general, under buildings insurance. “

“There is, at present, little evidence to show a link between fracking and seismic activity that could cause damage to a well-maintained property, however, insurers will continue to monitor the potential for fracking, or similar explorations, to cause damage.

“We are not aware of any claims, to date, where seismic activity as a result of fracking has been mooted as a cause for damage.”

Mr Hudson has now negotiated a suitable insurance policy with NatWest including cover against fracking damage.

He said: “I’m glad I managed to get cover in the end but I am worried a lot of people in the area will struggle to insure their homes in the future if they are in a potential fracking zone.”

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