Last week’s heavy flooding across Malta has not led to a noticeable spike in claims, according to the country’s insurance companies
While the insurers who spoke to Businessnow.mt said that claims normally take around two weeks to come in, there were no indications that the number would be particularly higher than average.
“The first thing I do after such an event is to ask the claims department how many claims have been made, and so far only about 15 have come in,” said Mark Spiteri, General Manager of Antes Insurance Brokers Ltd.
Asked why this was the case, Mr Spiteri suggested it might be due to the fact that the flooding was not accompanied by strong winds.
“A lot of people have trees in their front garden, or in front of their houses in the street, and if they get uprooted they cause a lot of damage,” he said.
Predictably, the most common claims during such events are related to water ingress, that is when water penetrates a building.
“To be honest, in terms of flood damage, it was worse in the past. Places like Msida and Marsa used to flood more regularly, and the water used to take longer to drain away,” he said.
Mr Spiteri’s comments were echoed by John Galdes, Senior Claims Manager at GasanMamo Insurance.
“Although it’s too early to fully assess the impact, We’ve seen worse storms, such as the one that occurred in 2019,” he said, referring to the cyclone that famously resulted in hundreds of fish being washed up onto the shore.
“Of course, it would be better if the roads could actually cope with such flooding,” he lamented.
Both insurers noted that, while individual events do not lead to an increase in insurance premiums – competition from other insurers and profitability also play a part – premiums would have to rise if such events become a regular occurrence and increase in severity.
Another insurer suggested that some people might be under-declaring the value of their property and belongings to get a lower premium rate, only to end up with a lower payout as a result.
“These days people have more expensive possessions and are fitting their homes with such things as solar panels, which are vulnerable to weather damage,” he said.
As for whether climate change is an increasingly important factor in future business plans, insurers said they were unable to comment, as this was an issue for underwriters, rather than insurance brokers.
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