Devastation in KZN: Claims significant, runs into hundreds of millions of rands

Lizo Mnguni, spokesperson for Old Mutual Insure

Initial assessments suggest that damages from the extreme and disastrous flooding in KwaZulu Natal are significant and run into hundreds of millions of rands, if not more.  

So says Lizo Mnguni, spokesperson for Old Mutual Insure, adding that the company has received a staggering volume of claims since Tuesday when the damage took hold. 

“The claims continue to come in fast given the large area affected. We expect this to last in the coming days. We have mobilised our teams to deal with the expected volumes to ensure continuity of customer service in these difficult times,” says Mnguni. 

He adds that the insurer has put additional teams on the ground to deal with the devastation and ensure claims are processed quickly.  

“The core purpose of insurers is to protect clients in these difficult times and our customers whose business have been impacted by a weather-related event will be protected by Old Mutual Insure. The industry is well capitalised, and all valid claims received by Old Mutual Insure on our policies will be paid. We are working around the clock to support all of the businesses and individuals affected by the devastation,” says Mnguni.  

Thousands have been left homeless and livelihoods threatened, with the loss of lives exceeding 300. Earlier this week car manufacturer Toyota in the area reported that it had halted production given that it was severely affected. In another staggering sight, shipping containers washed away and toppled over, and bridges collapsed.   

Mguni says that the company has seen a significant increase in weather-related losses in recent times, and is expecting changing weather patterns and climate change to continue to cause havoc.  

“Our pricing for products and premiums already incorporates a component to cater for weather-related risks.” 

He says that Old Mutual Insure works closely with reinsurers to understand the global risk environment and impacts on South Africa. 

“There is no indication that coverage for natural catastrophe risks will be withdrawn. We have seen that globally premium increases are common following major catastrophic weather-related events, which the industry has already seen following the major European floods in 2021. 

The company is working closely with NGO, Gift of the Givers, to assess the damage and needs of affected communities in KZN, such as food, blankets and clothes.  

“We will be fully supporting our affected communities in KwaZulu Natal to make sure that we minimise their suffering.”  

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