Insurance Firms Face Massive Claims

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By Hoandi !Gaeb Mariental Short-term insurance companies are considering not to cover flood victims in the Hardap region’s irrigation scheme and the central business district of Mariental after the opening of sluices at Namibia’s biggest dam caused damage to property and crops amounting to millions of Namibian dollars. New Era learnt reliably that the damage at this stage is estimated at over N$50 million. Sources in the insurance industry told New Era that some irrigation farmers and their employees should carry the blame for the disaster as they refuse to keep the riverbeds clear in order to allow the river to flow unhindered. “Insurance companies cannot afford to pay out millions of dollars every six years to flood victims while they themselves are somehow responsible for the predicament they are in,” a source said. Insurance companies are also reassured elsewhere and those insurers want to know what is being done to prevent reoccurrence of similar situations in future. “They want to know what we are doing to rectify the situation,” sources say. Meanwhile, the area manager of the Hollard Insurance Company in the Hardap region, Pieter von Williegh, told New Era that his company stands ready to pay out claims to clients who were properly insured at the time of the flooding. However, a well known insurance expert who spoke on condition of anonymity commented that time has perhaps come for the Mariental Town Council, the short-term insurance companies and all other stakeholders to sit around the table and work out modalities to get a permanent solution for the flood problem in the Hardap Region. He said one of the solutions would be to erect a retainer wall in the Fish River to regulate the flow of water south of the Hardap Dam. “I think the erection of such a wall would be much cheaper for insurance companies and the Hardap Regional Council than paying millions of Namibian dollars to victims very six years.” In a related incident the weekend flood also severely damaged the infrastructure at Mariental’s pig farm while it is feared that many pigs could have perished in the Fish River. The pig farm at Mariental is the biggest in the country.