TROPICAL STORM TOMAS might have sent many a Barbadian running for cover last November. But not insurance cover.
And the industry might only see Barbadians come to buy property insurance when the hurricane season stares the region in the face again, says chairman of the public relations committee of the General Insurance Association of Barbados GIAB), Anton Lovell.
“We may see [applications] at the beginning of the hurricane season because the industry will be putting out a number of ads warning that the season is near and it is good to get your property insured.”
But since Tomas, Lovell stated, few were moved to go and insure.”Asked what he thought was the reason Barbadians were not eager to insure their homes, he explained it was “the culture”.
Lovell said people in places like Antigua, Cayman Islands, Grenada, which “had been devastated by more than one hurricane, had people more willing to give up a couple more dollars to be insured.
“I just came back from St Lucia and a number of [districts] have not restarted operation yet.”
Lovell said Barbadians took mortgages with insurance coverage which was critical to the agreement and after they were finished paying the mortgage they allowed the insurance to fall behind.
He also said there was no excuse for people with chattel and timber houses not taking insurance coverage.
“It is rumour that insurance companies do not want to insure chattel nor timber. That is long in the past. In fact, if you checked our ad during the hurricane season, you would have seen a special saying, ‘We insure timber houses’.”
Lovell said that during the building boom, about five years ago, many people insured their properties.
“But there are still a number of houses that are not insured and that is our concern,” he added.