Homeowners should insure their homes and personal belongings especially in the wake of the recent spate of fires and with the hurricane season drawing near, Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson has urged.
He has told a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) constituency branch meeting that the price of homeowners’ insurance was falling. Property insurance is not mandatory.
While Hinkson added that many Barbadians insured their home as a condition of their mortgages, he added that for thousands of Barbadians, this was still not the reality.
“We know that a lot of Barbadian homeowners whether it is a wall house or chattel outside of that don’t have insurance.
“I must confess I didn’t know that homeowners’ insurance could be as low as $300 a year. That is $25 a month and the insurance companies are giving you the liberty to pay it monthly, so you don’t have to look for all $300 one time.
The St James North MP said of the situation in his riding: “We’ve had five house fires since the last election and I cry every time I look in the paper and see that a house has been destroyed. Invariably there is no insurance and everything is gone.
“It is one thing to lose all of your possessions, but on the other hand it’s worse to have no insurance to at least be able to replace those things that can be replaced by money.”
Hinkson said that with the constant threat of natural disasters, the risk of losing everything was simply too high.
He added that Government had already intensified its preparations for the coming hurricane season, revealing that plans for an increase in the number of hurricane shelters were in the pipeline along with the fortification of existing shelters.
The minister said: “We said we need more category one shelters where people can go before the hurricane if you fear that your roof may come off, or you’re old and don’t want to be by yourself.
“We are trying to prepare the QEH and are trying to put in a another major water tank, because patients are not going to be able to go anywhere.”
Hinkson said he has chaired numerous meetings with disaster preparedness officials over the last two months in the run-up to the June 1st start of the hurricane season.
He told constituents: “Whether it’s the waterworks, the police, the QEH, the ministry of public work, town planning, the ministry of tourism. Those meetings have given me the opportunity to see where they are deficiencies in operations and preparedness.
“We have been sprucing up the schools, because a high percentage of the shelters are schools so we are ensuring that the schools at least have a secure roof and other infrastructure that can protect those who may happen to go into a shelter. So we are praying at a governmental level.”
Encouraging residents to play their role in disaster preparedness, Hinkson urged: “Make sure that your property is as secure as it can be, clean drains in your neighborhood. You have a responsibility to yourself, your family and your country to do what you can do.”