Losses from damage to property continue to mount as Maraval business people pick up the pieces following August 14 flooding that caused extensive damage to property. The Business Guardian spoke to a few businesses located on Saddle Road, Maraval, to determine the extent of their losses and the importance of flood insurance. Hurry Curry, located at the Royal Palm Suite Hotel, sustained damages of up to $10,000 when two feet of flood water entered the business premises. The flood waters damaged three chillers and a deep freeze. “The actual cost is about $4,000 and the loss of sales,. We lost one day’s sales and a further $4,000. Since we have been in this area, this is the highest the water has ever come. It going into three years since we have been here,” Bobby Sheppard, spokesperson for the business.
With children returning to school, sales are usually low in September. The floods means that revenue has dropped even further. Regarding insurance for flood coverage, Sheppard said he is convinced of need to have it. “We never took out (insurance for) flood. We probably have to get it—after the fact.” Other changes Sheppard plans to make include moving the ingredients and other supplies to a height along with the chillers and deep freeze. Another business, Boissiere Place, which sells clothing and furniture, had to replace its entire flooring. Damage and clean up expenses have been estimated at between $175,000 and $350,000. And counting.
Spokesperson Willan Rahaman said: “The (flood) water came through the front (of the premises) and through the exit. We had to spend a lot of money on labour to clean. We may have to do a flood sale (to sell the damaged goods). I don’t know what we will recover, but I estimate the losses to be another $300,000.” Clean up stretched to four o’clock the next morning. While Rahaman’s business is insured, he’s worried by the extent of damage to his property. “The damage is enormous. The problem with us here is because we are at the side of the river, the volume of water is coming through by a nearby river.” Bedrock Mini Golf and Game Centre general manager Martin Blackman, said the entire ground was covered in mud and it was tedious task to clean it.
“We had to shovel, backhoe, shampoo and power hose. What’s unique about our business—golf—you can’t just come with a backhoe and scrape out because there are golf courses and it’s carpeted. It’s outside carpeting. You have to delicately move every piece of stone, every piece of mud. It was mostly a lot of manpower,” he said. Damage to property and other expenses were estimated at more than $70,000. Asked about flood insurance, Rahaman said he is not covered, but plans to find out about that type of insurance. “We are now going to look and see what we could do in terms of flood insurance.” It is the third time Blackman has been affected by flood and is not daunted. Blackman has no intention of moving.
In a statement from the Association of T&T Insurance Companies (ATTIC), damage to property arising from flood “is an insurable peril under a fire and perils policy.” In a statement, ATTIC said, “Whilst it is excluded under the standard fire policy, it is usually made available to property owners at an additional premium and subject to the company’s underwriting practices. The standard fire policy covers losses due to fire only. The majority of clients purchase a fire and perils policy, which would include insurance for flood.” If you own a residential property: “The standard homeowners comprehensive policy automatically covers flood and indemnifies policyholders in the event of damage to their home and personal effects/contents due to flooding.”
While flood insurance protection is offered in most Caribbean countries and is subjected to the underwriting policies and practices of the particular insurance company, can a business or individual apply for insurance coverage? The maximum compensation payable in the event of flood is subject to “proof of loss but, in any event, will not exceed the sum insured.”
On the issue of motor insurance, the amount payable would be “the repair cost or the actual market value in cases where the vehicle is a total loss.” Whether it is motor insurance or property insurance “there would be an excess or deductible which represents the insured’s portion of the loss.”
What is meant by the deductible?
ATTIC asked in the statement: “In the case of flood, most policies include a deductible of two per cent, for example, of the sum insured.”The deductible can vary, depending on what insurance company.
ATTIC advised consumers when purchasing insurance to remember the following:
1. Ensure you are aware of what coverage you are purchasing. Does it cover flood?
2. Ensure your sum insured for property—both building and contents, represent the replacement cost of the items covered. In the event of the sum insured not being adequate, the insured may not receive settlement for his full claim as he would need to contribute to the loss settlement
3. Ensure the sum insured on your vehicle represents the current market value of your vehicle. Over-insuring your vehicle would just increase your cost of insurance and provide no benefit
4. The provision of details when placing you cover and keeping this information updated annually would greatly assist a consumer in getting his/her claim settled quickly at the time of loss. Items such as a contents inventory would greatly assist
5. Ensure the insured has legal registered title to the property being insured.