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EDITORIAL: Insurance coverage a must

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Insurance coverage a must

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THE DESTRUCTION OF FIVE houses by fire in one district last week should serve as a warning to all Barbadians of the necessity to protect their property. By now it should have been recognised that precaution is most certainly the preferred prescription.
For too long we have adopted an attitude which promotes the belief that nothing negative will befall us. So we operate on the foolish notion that protection of our property by way of adequate insurance coverage is not a priority. Too many of us, irrespective of income group, do not seek protection against peril.
We must emphasise the importance of protecting ourselves and our properties against all types of risk. It makes little sense sounding an appeal post-incident for there to be insurance coverage to help cushion some of the fallout from a disaster. Unfortunately, even these appeals all seem to fall on deaf ears and dismissive minds.
The expectation is for Government to salvage the situation, for the church to help, and any other Good Samaritan to reach out and lend a helping hand. It is almost always a case of cap in hand.
Amazingly, this situation prevails in a society which is prone to natural disasters, where hurricanes are a real threat for half of the year, where flooding has created havoc over the years, where house fires are commonplace and where man-made disasters are ever present.
Still, too many Barbadians remain unmoved and unconcerned. That is, until something happens, and then there is the cry for Government to provide for those affected.
No government has an unlimited bank of resources and as the current economic crisis affecting the country has highlighted, provision of social services can be curtailed. Some of the victims of Tropical Storm Tomas in October 2010 can attest to the slow pace at which state-sponsored help arrived.
This untenable approach cannot continue, not even with our politicians, irrespective of party, acting as if the state must be the welfare godfather. Our people must shoulder some responsibility for their well-being and that of their family. It simply calls for a degree of sacrifice to put the necessary measures in place.
The cost of insurance coverage for property and contents can be very small in the scheme of most people’s annual financial plan. The attitude adopted by many Barbadian property owners is that the issue of managing risks is not a priority of their to-do list.
But we need to recognise that we are protecting ourselves and properties against all types of risk. We must exhibit some sense of personal responsibility.