Bluff, Montwood areas count the cost of #DurbanStorm
"Southlands Sun spent the morning with the Bluff and Montclair ward councillors on Wednesday, 11...
Many areas within the Ugu District, KwaZulu-Natal and in Gauteng came to a standstill as devastating hailstorms, torrential rain and strong winds tore off roofs, flooded roads, smashed windows and cars, uprooted trees and walls, and tragically claimed many lives.
The increased frequency of extreme weather events over the past couple of years has been marked and left consumers and insurers counting the toll of weather related catastrophes.
According to ClimateWise, a coalition of global insurers, brokers and industry service providers, weather-related catastrophes such as floods, windstorms and droughts have increased six hundred percent since the 1950s, and have cost the world economy $170bn in 2016 alone, five times more than the 1980s and taking huge leap up from the $103 billion in losses recorded in 2015.
Closer to home flood events in 2016 racked up losses of R700m in insured losses, while the recent Knysna fires and Cape Town storms in June clocked in at over R4billion in damages. Alarmingly, the gap between the cost of weather catastrophes and the insured values is growing.
Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa, says the damage and havoc wrought across the country over the last few months and years highlights just how vulnerable we are to the changing weather patterns and climate change.
The downpours happen in a matter of minutes with incredible intensity, with some areas reporting golf-ball size hailstones, proving that extreme weather catastrophes happen with very little warning, and there is just no telling as to how severe they will be. General consensus from meteorologists is that climate change is having a massive impact on property losses, and South Africa should brace for a new normal of abnormally heavy rain and hail storms, powerful winds and drought conditions in many regions,” says Mandy.
There is no disputing that South Africa has seen a marked increase in the frequency and intensity of severe weather conditions over the last six years and there is no denying the impact of climate change in the insurance sector. Yesterday’s hail storm is almost a month earlier than the storm that ripped through the Gillooly’s Interchange in Bedfordview on 10 November 2016 which claimed lives and caused massive damages to property and vehicles.
“With much of October and November still ahead of us – traditionally the months that have tallied the most severe weather events and financial losses – there is a need for extra precautions. The severity of the flooding and damage we are seeing is alarming, and while there is little that you can do to prevent a flood, there are some important tips that can help protect your personal safety and assets in such freak weather conditions,” explains Mandy.
Aon provides the following advice:
On the road:
Tips for home:
“If you are unfortunate and do suffer a loss, report your claim as soon as possible – bear in mind claims volumes after such catastrophic events will be high and there may be delays in getting assessments and repairs done and shortages of hire cars. There is also the annual shutdown to consider in December which may see your damages only repaired in the New Year should you suffer a loss closer to the holiday period,” says Mandy.
“Discuss your motor and household insurance with your broker to make sure you are comprehensively covered for such eventualities. The growing risks presented by our changing weather patterns demands that you review your needs in detail and get impartial and professional advice to ensure your cover meets those needs. Choice, simplicity of wording and customisation will ensure that your assets are covered correctly,” Mandy concludes