Mariental Flood Damage Tops N$80-m

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK The Namibia insurance industry will have to pay in excess of N$80 million for the damage that floodwaters caused in the Mariental district almost three weeks ago. And following this, the industry says it is expected that re-insurers will increase insurance industry premiums to deal with the losses experienced. At the moment, though, a spokesperson of the Namibia Insurance Association, Brigitte Tiam, says nothing has been finalized yet. The amount is almost two and a half times than estimated by the insurance industry. Just after the floods, a short-term insurance company, Santam said it expected the flood associated loses to hit the N$30 million mark. Yesterday, however, the NIA said following the heavy rains that subsequently resulted in flooding of the Hardap dam in the district, the costs to the industry would be in excess of N$80 million. Taim said in a press statement issued on behalf of the association last week that the majority of the claims were made by private homeowners and business owners whose premises had been up to 1.5 m deep in water. The previous floods of 2 000 amounted to claims in the region of N$25 million. This year’s claims, according to the spokesperson, are about to be finalised while the industry plans to meet this week to discuss the way forward in covering future floods. “They also plan to investigate reoccurrences of this kind of disaster in the area and how best to deal with future losses and sustainability for future cover. For now, existing policies will remain as is,” said Taim. After the floods, a hydrologist with the country’s water utility, NamWater, said the town would be flooded again in future and there was nothing that could be done. The hydrologist, Andre Mostert, said the location of the town from the Hardap Dam and natural drainage systems of the rivers in the area are some of the factors that will lead to future floods. This year’s floods have been described as the worst the town has seen since the devastation of 1972 when people drowned and property was damaged.