Laxey flood victims feel that they are still paying for the government’s mistakes, more than three years since water wrecked their homes.

Their insurance premiums have rocketed after the Laxey River burst into Glen Road and their houses.

One resident was recently quoted £4,500 in a renewal fee and other residents are struggling to even get coverage.

In 2019, at the time of flooding, there was a hole in the river wall which was created by Manx Utilities contractors as a means of temporary access into the river for structural works taking place at a nearby weir.

It was when Laxey experienced extremely heavy rainfall levels that the river reached road level and started to spill out of the gap in the wall.

This water started to surge down Glen Road, and a build up of debris was also attributed as a factor which caused the flood.

Many other areas of Laxey flooded, and altogether 62 properties experienced damage from water.

An independent review into the floods highlighted mistakes made by various parties including the government and Manx Utilities, which has led many residents to believe that the event was preventable.

This belief is compounded by the fact that Laxey had experience flooding four years prior in 2015, and residents had voiced their concerns to the government about debris and various other factors which cumulatively caused the floods.

Jill Kimber lives in Glen Road with her daughter.

She said: ‘The real problem is we have been left in a mess with insurance. We can’t get storm or flood coverage, even though we have never claimed for storm coverage.

‘We made a flood claim, and I wish we never did, because we are paying it back now.’

Jill can get insured only against fire and burglary, yet their insurance has more than doubled, going from £780 per year to £1,620.

Jill added: ‘The worry is if they are charging this much now what are they going to charge us if they do agree to insure for flooding god knows how much it will be, we can barely afford it as it is.’

Being refused insurance coverage for flooding has not just had an effect on Jill’s finances.

Jill said: ‘There have been nights, where we haven’t slept because we were worried about flooding, so my daughter and I would take turns to be on look out when it is stormy.

‘What can you do if you’re not insured? If we were to be flooded again we would have to live in a wet house.

‘I am in my late 60s and, at a time where I would like to be more relaxed, I’m more anxious than ever.’

Jill and her daughter are one household of many who are facing similar issues in the neighbourhood.

Another resident, who wanted to be anonymous, told the Examiner that his insurance increased from £300 before the 2019 flood to £1,200 a year after. He is also unable to obtain flood cover.

He said: ‘At times it has put strain on relationships at home. It has cost us a lot financially and it has increased scepticism about how effectively we are governed.’

The government has said that it hopes to join the UK’s “flood reinsurance scheme” in 2026, seven years after the flood.

The scheme acts to keep the insurance for households at risk of flooding at an affordable price.

However, it’s far from certain that the Isle of Man would be permitted to join the scheme.

Another resident said: ‘The cost of insurance has increased massively. I have lived in my home for more than 20 years now and never been concerned about the river which runs adjacent to my back garden wall but following this incident I get worried every time it rains.

‘We’ve had no support. People don’t appreciate the impact something like this has on your mental wellbeing.

‘It was a seriously scary incident that no one was prepared for.

‘Everything you’ve worked hard for is destroyed and, while bricks and mortar are one thing, there are some things that make a house a home and they are irreplaceable.’

Since the 2019 flood, a flood alleviation scheme has been developed.

Infrastructural changes made under the scheme include a new reinforced concrete river wall being installed, larger drains and a catcher to prevent woodland debris blockages.

A resident said: ‘Whilst we applaud the work done by the Department of Infrastructure in respect of the flood alleviation work, there is still a lot of work to be done and hopefully this doesn’t get pushed out due to budget cuts as it’s too important.’

She added: ‘I had a meeting with the Manx Utilities Authority flood team in my home on September 19 2019, 11 days before the flood, and asked why they had allowed the river wall to be breached. I was given assurances that they would request this was shored up safely every night.

‘I also asked about river maintenance, something myself and my neighbour had been trying to get done for years without any success at all.

‘Laxey had a significant flooding event in 2015 and you can see there the amount of tree debris in the river, why wasn’t something done following this event?

‘The complete lack of river maintenance played a significant part in events on October 1 2019.’

Garff MHK Andrew Smith, who lives on Glen Road, has been collating information on insurance increases, and will take a report to insurance companies to try to tackle increased premiums for Laxey flood victims.

He started this in early November, and is still in the process of collating information.

In the meantime, residents are paying the price, Jill explained: ‘Everyone is facing the cost of living crisis, but we also have this added cost of high insurance.’

Another resident said: ‘Failings meant homes were destroyed and lives could have been lost, not just residents but emergency services and others that were trying to help on the road that day.

‘I can’t fault my insurance company for how quickly they responded and they covered all my losses but I am being held to ransom in respect of premium increases.

‘I can’t shop around for insurance due to this event and essentially we are paying for the government’s mistakes.’

Jill said: ‘I didn’t leave the hole in the wall, but I am paying for it.’