It would seem that neither earthquake nor superstorms devastating Caribbean neighbours is proving motivation enough for Barbadians to insure their homes.
One of the region’s leading insurance companies has revealed that Barbados was among the most underperforming of the home insurance markets despite having lower premiums than most.
As a result, the Guardian Group charged, when it comes to home insurance affordability, Barbadians were squandering an opportunity that many in other parts of the Caribbean wished they had.
“Certainly for Barbados, I don’t think that we could ever be satisfied with what we are seeing in terms of people coming forward,” Executive Manager of Guardian Group Nigel Adams said without giving figures.
“I know persons look at the cost of insurance, but certainly over the last six or seven years insurance in Barbados has been quite reasonable in terms of pricing. So I don’t think we in Barbados can truly say that it has been truly expensive, but we do not make use of the availability of the coverage,” Adams told reporters on the fringes of the launch of the company’s professional indemnity programme at Guardian Group’s Collymore Rock, St Michael headquarters on Wednesday morning.
The insurance executive said the insurance market here has largely escaped the exponentially rise in premiums that follow catastrophes such as last year’s devasting hurricanes.
However, he warned that with events like last month’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Venezuela, but which was felt here and in some other Caribbean countries, the days of low premiums could be nearly an end.
“There are times in the past such as after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 where the cost of insurance went up by about 300 per cent. We did not have that after the two major hurricanes last year . . . [but] as you witnessed about two weeks ago, we had a little shaking here in Barbados and it should remind us that we are constantly faced with natural disasters being that the Caribbean is one of the most exposed areas in the world when it comes to this,” he stressed.
Two months ago Massy United Insurance made similar observations, claiming despite the billions of dollars in damage to homes and property caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, Barbadians still did not see the value of insuring their homes and properties.
“I can’t say that witnessing the damage in other territories have caused Barbadians to rush to buy property insurance because it still doesn’t hit home once the television goes off. Living in the reality is often the best teacher. The Eastern Caribbean per capita rate of insurance is much greater than Barbados because they have been through it,” Chief Executive Officer Randy Graham had said during a roundtable discussion at the Hilton Barbados Resort entitled, Moving Forward After The 2017 Hurricane Season.
At the time, the insurance executive acknowledged that there were those who sought insurance coverage but said many among those were taking unnecessary risks by underinsuring their homes.