The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) welcomes the recent announcement made by the City of Johannesburg confirming that an initial order to the value of R216 million for fire engines and other fire emergency vehicles has been placed with its respective supplier.
Viviene Pearson, the CEO of SAIA, says that “it is encouraging to see municipalities prioritise fire risks. Uncontrolled fires are not only a hazard to building infrastructure, but also to human and animal life.
Millions of Rands worth of property can be destroyed by a fire in a few hours if firefighting help using appropriate firefighting equipment does not arrive in time. As the non-life insurance industry, we are encouraged by the strides made by the City to ensure that it has adequate and functional equipment to mitigate fire risks.
“There are several factors that increase the risks faced by the non-life insurance industry such as climate change which gives rise to droughts, dry spells and heat waves resulting in wildfires which can cause massive devastation to properties, infrastructure and farmlands.
“Factors such as poorly maintained and ageing infrastructure, and low water levels and pressure contribute to the increase of the potential impact of structural fires. These risks can be managed and avoided through strategic partnerships and initiatives such as the City’s new fire engine replacement programme,” Pearson added.
Over the years, the non-life insurance industry has experienced a spike in the number and value of claims as a result of uncontrolled fires that have burned down property, unfortunately also leading to the loss of human and animal life. SAIA believes that the need to capacitate fire departments in the municipalities and fully enable them to effectively fight fires in the built environment and in the veld is of paramount importance.
“The non-life insurance industry will continue to engage with national and local government to further promote the development and execution of strategies to better manage fire risks which may enhance resilience and sustainability for our cities and communities,” Pearson concluded.