Categorized | National News

Most People “Underinsured”

Just a week after an unexpected flood caused damage to homes throughout the southern and eastern New Providence, insurance agents have come under fire by people wishing to make claims.

Last week, Theresa Moxey-Adderley spoke of how she could not claim flood damages after her home was damaged from Tuesday night’s flood.

She said the insurance company told her the damage was not caused by a hurricane, tsunami and nor did it rain for four days, so she could not claim.

But yesterday, while appearing as guests on JCN’s Jones and Company with host Wendall Jones, Chairman of AFS Insurance and Brokers Ethric Bowe and Managing Director, Netherland Antilles General Insurance Company (NAGICO) Insurances and Brokers Vibert Williams said that people usually misinterpret what their insurance agreement really states and thus causes confusion and anger when they want to make a claim.

Mr. Williams, who has been in the country from St. Martin since October, said most people simply do not read their policy documents.

He said people must know what’s in their documents and what they are covered for.

The managing director said perhaps the biggest area where people have troubles is ‘under insurance.’
“Many people, for different reasons, tend to save some money and have insurance lower than the actual value of their property,” he said.

“If you are insured for less than your full value, you are in effect to agreeing to be your own insurer for the part that you didn’t choose to insure.”

For example, a person who insures a house worth $100,000 at $60,000 is only capable of getting 60 per cent of their claim.
So if the person in that example were to make a claim of $20,000, because they only pay 60 per cent, they only qualify for that amount of their claim, which in this case would be $11,000.

Mr. Williams describes insurance as a ‘pool’ to which everyone contributes and people are paid based on what’s in the ‘pool.’
“There are a lot of people in that pool that are contributing the full value and should get 100 per cent of their claims,” he said.

“It is not fair for them to contribute 100 per cent for you to get full value for your loss.”

The St. Martin native said that a lot of times in the industry there are also a lot of ‘exaggerated claims’.

Mr. Williams said it pains him as an insurance professional to see that at a time when the industry is supposed to shine, that sometimes, if not most, they fall short.

“These are the times for which people pay their insurance premiums. These are the times when the best of us as an insurance industry are supposed to rise to the top and settle people’s claims in the fastest and fairest possible.”

“But sometimes we don’t and I as a professional would like to say that the majority of claimants are properly treated.”
He said that for the thousands of people that have benefited from the industry, the public usually doesn’t hear the good stories.

Mr. Bowe said it all depends on when you make your claim.

“Once you’ve documented everything properly and provided the information needed, then you should get your claim,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”

“People think that an insurance claim is a pay day, in some cases and places.”
NAGICO is the largest privately owned general insurance company in the Caribbean and headquartered in St. Martin.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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