Storm damage a catalyst for higher
- certain factories saw workforce depleted to 25 per
cent due to storm
By Matthew Vella
Insurance companies speaking to The Malta Financial and Business Times
yesterday said the scale of damages from Mondays storm which would
be recorded by the end of the week, in terms of motor insurance claims
could possibly one of the highest yet.
Brokers told this newspaper that claims were flooding the agencies from
all directions. Ivan Muscat, insurance broker at Aon Select, said that
both personal and commercial claims had been submitted already in the
first few days following the storm:
"It is still too early to quantify the amount of damage. Surveys
are still being carried out. Certainly there is a significant amount
of claims next to the normal number."
Other insurance companies speaking to this newspaper reiterated that
the quantification of insurance claims was still in its early process,
and would not reveal the extent of these claims. Elmo Insurance spokespersons
told this newspaper that the claims received were "a lot",
although they were not ready to divulge any details regarding the quantity
and value of claims received over the two days since the storm.
Around 1,000 calls for assistance were received from households on Monday,
with 20 fire engines being deployed, saving 60 people from their cars.
Police received over 200 calls for help whilst tow trucks were in constant
call to aid stranded motorists.
According to Malta Employers Association Director-General Joe Farrugia,
certain manufacturing companies had their factories running with just
25 per cent of their workforces due to workers who could not reach their
workplace. In other cases, depending on the location of the company
and on the workers travel routes, work continued as usual. Mr
Farrugia said that in certain cases, agreements had been reached between
employers and workers who did not report to work, to have the day deducted
from their leave allowance.
Asked if such a storm would be affecting insurance prices in the future,
Mr Ivan Muscat said it was still to early to comment on the effects
such a storm may have on prices. "We have not yet quantified the
extent of insurance claimed. Hopefully, storms like these will remain
a one-off throughout the year."
Mr Muscat said that as a broker, it was in his interest to keep insurance
prices as reasonable as possible: "We still have to see how the
extent of claims will affect the long-term portfolio of our underwriters."
First Insurance broker Jean Portelli said the amount of claims due to
storm-related damages could also be conducive to higher premiums: "As
brokers we are imagining insurance companies to have an idea of how
this could be something of a seasonal occurrence, and so conducive to
higher premiums in the coming year. The extent of this damage was so
great I dont think they were prepared for it. For Malta this was
the first time we ever came close to a national alert, quite close to
becoming a catastrophe."
Mr Portelli said around three out of seven motor vehicle insurance claims
were for cars which had been garaged during the storm, where water had
seeped through. Other claims included lightening damage.
"In cases such as floods, cars insured comprehensively can claim
liability, but in terms of third party insurance, the problems with
these occurrences is how to prove negligence by a third party when claiming
"When your car is directly damaged by the floods, a comprehensively
insured owner can claim liability. A third party owner may have to claim
that damages occurred from a third party due to the negligence of that
third party owner."
Claims under storm, tempest and flood damage include damage
to furniture, interiors and masonry. Motor vehicles insured under a
comprehensive cover are eligible to file claims for mere damaged paintwork
to outright collision or if they have been dragged away by the flooding.
Third-party insurance, covering collision, fire and theft, could in
most cases not be considered for insurance for flood-relating damage,
which would be considered as an act of God.