The Witness - - NEWS - ED­WARD WEST

SHORT­TERM in­sur­ers ex­pect to be in­un­dated with claims fol­low­ing storms and hail in Gaut­eng and Mpumu­langa this week, and the storm in Dur­ban yes­ter­day.

So­cial me­dia footage in Dur­ban yes­ter­day of ve­hi­cles par­tially sub­merged un­der wa­ter and houses and busi­nesses be­ing flooded, in­di­cate that the num­ber of in­sur­ ance claims is likely to be high.

“We are cur­rently pro­cess­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of claims fol­low­ing the dam­ag­ing hail storms in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu­Natal in the past week and we are gath­er­ing all the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion fol­low­ing the large hail storm in Gaut­eng [on Monday] as well as the se­vere storm in Dur­ban,” San­tam head of claims and group sourc­ing Abrahim As­mal said yester­ day. He said the firm was now fo­cus­ing on en­sur­ing clients and bro­kers re­ceive the nec­es­sary as­sis­tance with their claims.

“San­tam’s 24/7 claims and emer­gency helpline is in­un­dated with calls at the mo­ment. The sever­ity and ge­o­graph­i­cal spread of these events has placed some pres­sure on our claims team and we are pri­ori­tis­ing emer­gen­cies,” said As­mal.

In the six months to end­June, San­tam, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, set­tled claims worth R8,8 bil­lion after deal­ing with R800 mil­lion of claims from se­vere storms in Cape Town, and the dev­as­tat­ing fire in Knysna.

Old Mu­tual In­sure me­dia spe­cial­ist Tshepo Mashego said they had plans in place to deal with in­creased num­ber of claims that were likely to be made due to dam­aged from the storms. An­other short­term in­surance firm, Auto & General, ex­tended its work­ing hours from 7 am to 7 pm to as­sist claimants who have been af­fected.

San­tam said ex­treme weather events like hail storms were in­creas­ing in in­ten­sity and oc­cur­rence, as pre­dicted by cli­mate change science and the ris­ing ur­ban­i­sa­tion pat­terns of South Africa.

“We are there­fore a strong ad­vo­cate of the need to build lo­cal level re­silience and risk pro­tec­tion,” said As­mal.

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