SIGN­POST

Short-term in­sur­ers are still as­sess­ing claims after this week’s freak storms, just months after catas­tro­phe events in the south­ern and Western Cape hit prof­its.

Business Day - - COMPANIES & MARKETS - Moy­agabo Maake Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Writer maakem@bdfm.co.za

Short-term in­sur­ers are still as­sess­ing claims after this week’s freak storms, just months after cat­a­strophic events in the south­ern and Western Cape hit prof­its.

The lat­est storms — which ripped through Gaut­eng, Mpumalanga and KwaZu­luNatal — dam­aged homes, schools and hos­pi­tals. This led to KwaZulu-Natal pre­mier Wil­lies Mchunu declar­ing the prov­ince a dis­as­ter area.

San­tam said the events had placed its claims team un­der se­vere pres­sure. It had de­ployed its emer­gency man­age­ment plan, in­volv­ing dis­patch­ing spe­cial claims teams to af­fected ar­eas to work di­rectly with in­ter­me­di­aries and cus­tomers.

“In sit­u­a­tions like these, our pri­or­ity is al­ways to as­sist with emer­gen­cies, es­pe­cially in cases where in­di­vid­u­als have lost nearly ev­ery­thing as a re­sult of the ex­treme weather events,” said Ebrahim As­mal, San­tam’s ex­ec­u­tive head of claims.

“In such sit­u­a­tions, it usu­ally takes a num­ber of days to get a full pic­ture of the dam­age, the cost and the ex­tent of the claims re­ceived,” As­mal said.

San­tam would be able to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on the ex­tent of the dam­ages in two days, he said.

Ru­dolf Britz, chief ac­tu­ary at short-term in­surer Mo­men­tum, said they ex­pe­ri­enced an in­crease in prop­erty dam­age claims due to ex­treme weather.

“There is much talk about the causes of these events. We cer­tainly are start­ing to re­ceive more claims for ex­tremeweather prop­erty dam­age than we have pre­vi­ously,” he said.

In­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion pres­sure re­sult­ing in more prop­er­ties be­ing built that are ex­posed to the el­e­ments, con­trib­uted to a rise in claims, Britz said.

The ris­ing in­ci­dence of ex­treme weather events could push in­surance pre­mi­ums up.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, one can un­der­write risk that hap­pens in iso­la­tion and balance that against the broader pool, where con­di­tions are sta­ble,” said Britz.

“But once the en­tire pool is af­fected by more fre­quent and more se­vere events, then the whole pool has to con­trib­ute.

“This means that pre­mi­ums must in­crease by more than in­fla­tion as events be­come more fre­quent and more se­vere.”

/The Times

Emer­gency: KwaZulu-Natal was de­clared a dis­as­ter area after storm dam­age, such as this flood­ing in Prospec­ton Road, south of Dur­ban, hit the prov­ince.

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