Insurance companies brace for claims following Montego Bay floods
Local insurance companies are prepared for the string of claims likely to be filed for damage, as a result of heavy rains, which resulted in extensive flooding in Montego Bay, St James, earlier this week, according to Peter Levy, vice-president of the Insurance Association of Jamaica.
One of the worst disasters in recent history, the Government has since allocated $20 million towards recovery efforts.
"I've been in the business for 30 years and I think this is as bad as we've seen for Montego Bay," said Levy, who also chairs the association's General Insurance Committee.
"There have been several other instances of flooding in other parts of the island, but of course, when it occurs in a major built-up area, then obviously, the scope for damage is much greater. But we're prepared for much bigger events like hurricanes and earthquakes, so on that scale, the event in Montego Bay is certainly within our capabilities," added Levy.
While unable to give an industry figure for claims filed as a result of the Wednesday's flood rains, Levy, the managing director of British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC), stated that four claims had so far been submitted to his company for severely damaged motor vehicles.
The director then explained that BCIC had not yet received notification of any claims in respect of buildings or contents of buildings, whether commercial or residential.
"Those, generally, will come through brokers or a mortgage company, in the case of a home, so, normally, there are a couple of steps before it gets to us, so that may take some more days," said Levy.
The 30-year veteran explained that while the recent flooding would not cause premiums to increase, the storm activity the Caribbean has seen this year already made it a likelihood that the cost of property damage insurance would increase.
"We're obviously very distressed by the events and our sympathy goes out to anybody who had their property damaged or any kind of loss as a result," said Levy.