BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - The federal government is not giving in to the demand of the federal states for compulsory insurance against flood and other natural hazards to be applied nationwide. "The compulsory insurance demanded by the federal states would make living in Germany more expensive, entail a great deal of bureaucracy and would not relieve the state of its financial liability," said Marco Buschmann, the Federal Minister of Justice responsible for the matter, on Thursday evening, explaining the government's negative stance. At the meeting between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the minister presidents, however, it was agreed to continue discussions on the issue.

"We are united by the fact that we want to improve protection against natural hazards and their consequences, but we do not agree on how to achieve this," said the FDP politician. In his view, an obligation for insurers to offer every building owner insurance against natural hazards would be a better solution, which he would continue to promote. Chancellor Scholz said after the meeting with the state premiers: "Everyone must get an offer."

The federal states have long been calling on the federal government to create a legal regulation for the introduction of nationwide compulsory insurance for natural hazards, which should also cover storm surge damage. According to the states' ideas, companies should have to offer a contract to every homeowner who wants to insure themselves against damage caused by natural forces. Up to now, homeowners in areas at high risk of flooding have sometimes been unable to find insurance that is willing to take on the high risk. Only around half of private buildings in Germany are insured against natural hazards.

Green Party politician Lukas Benner also spoke out in favor of nationwide compulsory insurance against natural hazards. He said: "With the right design, it calls for prevention and ensures planning security for those affected as well as a solidarity-based distribution of costs." The member of the Bundestag told the German Press Agency: "The premium should not be passed on in full to tenants." Where extremely high premiums are demanded due to a high risk, a distinction should be made between existing buildings and new builds in order to find fair solutions./mni/DP/ngu