The insurance payout from Hurricane Dorian could be significantly higher than the $400 million for insured losses suffered after Hurricane Matthew, Chairman of the Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) Warren Rolle told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that as soon as they can, insurance adjusters will be on the ground assessing damage.
Rolle explained that from the pictures and video of the destruction in the Abacos and Grand Bahama, he expects the insurance process to be a lengthy one.
He added that the insurance penetration on Grand Bahama and Abaco is higher than most of the other islands of The Bahamas outside of New Providence.
According to Rolle, insurance premiums could also increase in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, though he said insurance companies will have to wait until the next renewal period to know what those numbers could be.
“Premiums are typically dictated by reinsurers who would fund most of the payments to these clients, so we have to wait and see what they come back to us with, in our next renewal cycle,” said Rolle.
He called the devastation on Grand Bahama and in the Abacos “unfathomable”.
“I don’t think we have seen anything like this in our history,” he said. “I can’t imagine what our people are dealing with at the moment.”
He said from a recovery standpoint, the insurance industry will play its part.
“Most insurers, if not all of them, have mobilized teams of adjusters,” Rolle said.
“They’re just waiting for the all clear to get into the affected areas so they can start assessing damage. I know they have communicated with some clients to ask them to take steps wherever possible to mitigate against any further loss or damage, of course without causing any safety issues for themselves.
‘It’s going to be a lengthy process but insurers are committed to expediting settlements as quickly as they can. Where steps are taken to mitigate further loss or temporary repairs need to be undertaken, insurers are asking persons to just take some photographs. Any receipts for purchases that they have, just keep them so they can pass them on to the adjusters.”
A press release from the BIA yesterday reasserted the industry’s commitment to meet its contractual agreements with its clients.
“Our industry partners, including insurance adjusters and catastrophe response experts, have been engaged and are on standby in Nassau, in Florida and in the region,” the release noted.
“Following the ‘all clear’ and with the coordination of the relevant authorities on the ground, teams will be deployed as soon as possible to begin assessments.
“The days and months ahead will be difficult for all. The BIA remains committed to working through this crisis with our clients and to doing all that we can to settle claims fairly and in the most expeditious manner possible, given these dire circumstances,” the release pointed out.