Damage claims are highest in nine years
Insurance companies still counting the cost
Damage caused by last week’s floods will result in the largest insurance payout in almost a decade, according to three leading insurers.
Insurance companies were still counting the cost yesterday as claims on damaged cars, houses, businesses and yachts were still pouring in one week after the storm of September 3.
Matthew von Brockdorff, deputy managing director at Atlas Insurance, said his company had received claims to the value of €1 million.
Atlas received 45 claims valued at €200,000 for damaged cars and 185 claims valued at €800,000 for damage caused to property, commercial outlets and yachts.
“The number of claims and their cost is the largest since 2003 but it is still a long shot from that event,” Mr Brockdorff said.
A six-hour-long storm on September 15, 2003 caused widespread damage and led to a record €14 million worth of insurance payouts.
Malta had also tapped emergency EU funds at the time, after the European Commission classified the event as “a major disaster” and awarded a grant of almost €1 million.
Mr Brockdorff, who is also president of the Malta Insurance Association, an umbrella group for insurance firms, said it was too early to come up with a global sum for damage claims handled by all insurance companies.
Patrick Muscat, chief claims officer at Middlesea Insurance, said his company had received some 50 claims for damaged cars and another 300 claims related to house and business insurances.
“It is still too early to assess the damage in monetary terms but, while individual claims seem to be much higher than those received in 2003, the value is likely to be much smaller,” Mr Muscat said.
Julian Mamo, a director at insurance firm Gasan Mamo, said storm damage was “not as bad as expected” but would still represent the largest storm claim since 2003.
He declined to put a value on the expected insurance payout but added the company was still receiving claims.
“Residences, small businesses and a large number of cars were affected by the storm,” Mr Mamo said.
He noted that the infrastructural works done after 2003 to tackle the flood-prone areas in Marsa and Qormi helped reduce the problems caused by the flash floods.
According to Mr Brockdorff regular road maintenance helped mitigate the problems but houses were less prepared.
“The storm hit early this year and most property claims were a result of lack of home maintenance after the summer months,” he said, adding that things were made worse by the high winds that lashed out during the storm.
He also had a cautionary word for property and business owners who were not covered by an insurance policy and whose damage will be very difficult to assess.
“Despite the high cost to us, such events help to highlight the importance of having insurance because it is at times like this that it comes in handy.”