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News Article : Catastrophe protection
Category: Short-Term Insurance : Risk Management
Author:Nigel Benetton
Email:[email protected]
Posted:22 Jun 2005

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Making sure you are covered

South Africans should not ignore the possibility of natural disasters occurring in this country. Tsunamis in Indonesia, heavy flooding in India, or devastating fires in California may grab the headlines, but disasters have no respect for borders or regions. The Americas, for example, are beset by earthquakes, tornados and floods; Asia and India are regularly assailed by hurricanes, quakes and rising waters.

Angelo Haggiyannes, director of Auto & General, points out we are certainly not immune to threats of nature, as demonstrated by the recent earthquake in the Stilfontein area and the floods that hit Cape Town.

"While the damage and inconvenience of such events are indeed disastrous, by having the proper insurance in place the after effects can be mitigated."

Clients should do their research and be aware of any threats that may be endemic to their area. "If for example, you are close to a river or are in a low-lying area, your property may be susceptible to flooding. In Gauteng, hailstorms are frequent, and in certain areas of the Cape heavy storms are common.

"Maintaining an awareness of potential natural disasters enables people to gear their insurance cover more appropriately against these potential risks," he says. This together with ensuring the availability of emergency supplies and communications means that the potential impact of a natural disaster can be greatly reduced.

He says it should never be assumed that household insurance covers every eventuality, and he urges every policyholder to read and understand the terms of their cover. If necessary, further cover should be taken out to widen the protection.

Once information has been gathered regarding the threats in any particular area, which can be requested from town planning engineers, he advises homeowners and other policyholders to discuss the available options with their brokers who will advise the most expedient course of action.

If the disaster in question isn't already covered under the terms of the existing policy, the extra premium for extending the insurance will not be expensive.

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