PM: Insurance companies holding back hurricane relief efforts

The government is being “held back” by insurance companies as it attempts to move forward with recovery and reconstruction efforts on Abaco following Hurricane Dorian, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

“The insurance companies have not yet completed their job in terms of assessing and compensating individuals,” Minnis said on Christmas Day.

“So, we are held back to some extent even by insurance companies… We cannot move buildings until they have been assessed by the insurance companies.”

When reached for clarification yesterday, Minnis told The Nassau Guardian, “One of the challenges we have with Abaco is you cannot do much not even within the yards.”

He continued, “You have to wait for clearance by the insurance companies – those who have insurance – because if you were to demolish, then insurance companies can always argue that the building was not as bad as we said…So you have to work hand in hand with them.”  

Dorian ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama nearly four months ago.

According to a recent assessment by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), roughly 9,000 homes and more than 11 million square feet of structures were damaged on Abaco and Grand Bahama during the Category 5 storm.

More than 75 percent of dwellings on Abaco were affected with approximately 57 percent of those structures sustaining severe damage, the report noted.

Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay and Hope Town were the most affected areas on the island.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said that 80 percent of homes and businesses destroyed or damaged by Dorian were uninsured or underinsured.

In September, the Bahamas Insurance Association estimated that insured costs as a result of damage from Hurricane Dorian would conservatively top $500 million.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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