Flood Re, the new flood insurance scheme, has lost its chief executive just seven months after launch. Brendan McCafferty, who has spent the past two years getting the complex project off the ground, will take a job with insurer Axa in the new year.
The scheme, designed to make home insurance more affordable in flood-prone areas, is partly funded by a levy on the insurance industry, which in many cases is passed on to other homeowners.
Mr McCafferty said Flood Re had been a “career high”. In his new job, he will be running the French group’s UK general insurance business.
“The job in Axa is a wonderful opportunity for me. It is a career decision. There are no questions or concerns on Flood Re, which is in great shape,” Mr McCafferty said.
“I intended to stay for longer, but I didn’t anticipate that we’d get it up and running so quickly.”
Mary Dhonau, a flood activist who had helped Mr McCafferty promote Flood Re, said she was “gutted” he was leaving. “I’m very, very shocked. He’s done an excellent job to date,” she said. “I’m disappointed he hasn’t stayed longer. He’ll be a very hard act to follow.”
Flood Re, which deals with insurers who sell home policies rather than directly with consumers, has backed more than 53,000 policies since it was launched in April. More than 41 insurers, representing 90 per cent of the market, have joined the scheme.
Mark Hoban, Flood Re’s chairman, said: “Brendan leaves Flood Re in good shape, ready for the next phase of its development with a very strong team.”
A search for Mr McCafferty’s replacement is already under way. As well as administering the day to day operation of Flood Re, the new chief executive will also have to oversee its so-called transition plan.
The scheme is due to last only for another 22 years and eight months before closing. Before then, it is supposed to work with the government and insurance industry to ensure there is no need for a flood insurance scheme in future.
“We’ve all got to be more resilient to flooding,” said Ms Dhonau. “The government’s flood resilience review said that we can expect worse, deeper and harsher flooding in the future. Flood Re is a prop, but it is a prop that will be taken away.”