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Brussels, 10 March 2010

Insurance: Michel Barnier announces an in-depth examination of insurance against natural catastrophes

Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, announced yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg that the Commission would carry out an in-depth examination of insurance schemes covering national catastrophes, in particular flooding.

This initiative will involve a broad range of stakeholders and dialogue with Member States and insurance experts to exchange examples of best practice and to fix priorities at an appropriate level. The results of this dialogue with Member States, insurance experts and other interested parties will be the subject of a conference to be organised by the Commission during 2011.

This announcement came in response to an oral question by Irish MEP, Seán Kelly, regarding the "inability of the market to provide adequate cover" against flooding in certain Member States.

Mr Kelly's question follows very severe flooding in Ireland and the United Kingdom in November and December. It also comes shortly after violent floods caused by the Xynthia storm most notably caused the deaths of more than 50 people in France on 26 and 27 February.

Moreover, as Special Advisor to Commission President José Manuel Barroso, in May 2006, Michel Barnier presented a report proposing the creation of European civil protection force.

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