Bloemhof property owners outraged by insurance policy that excludes claims for flooding

The persistent flooding in some areas of the country has highlighted the need for property insurance.  However, property owners in Bloemhof, in the North West, have expressed frustration, saying insurance companies have since inserted a clause in their insurance policies, excluding any claims that arise from flooding.

The property owners had to evacuate their premises after eight sluice gates were opened at the Vaal Dam following huge water inflows due to recent torrential rains.

Properties in Bloemhof, North-West, were submerged with owners leaving the area for safety.

Marijtie Heyneke, who runs a business by the river bank, says her financial losses have been compounded by her insurance not covering damages caused by floods in areas prone to flooding.

Heyneke explains, “After the 2011 flood, the insurance companies brought in a clause in all the policies saying that we are insured for everything; fire, theft your geysers, your aircons, stove, electrical problems, excluding a claim that arises because of a river or a dam overflowing its banks.”

Heyneke says with this being the third flooding in the area, the road to recovery will be a tough one ahead.

“Following the Covid-19 that we had, which was also with a lockdown and everything, we had to cancel a lot of people. So there are a lot of people on these river owners of resorts that will probably not survive this one,” says Heyneke.

Meanwhile, the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) says while insurance cover in flood-prone areas may be expensive or not available at all, clients may use internal appeal processes to satisfy themselves.

Kabelo Paile from the Association elaborates, “Only insurance companies established, many decades ago, the principle that structures built at or below historic flood lines could not be insured. further, claims experience over decades means that insurers are able to identify which areas are prone to flooding and where insurance may either be more expensive or not available at all. where a policyholder believes that a claim has been repudiated incorrectly, insurers have internal appeal processes that policyholders can follow. Should they still not be satisfied with the appeal outcome, they may lodge a complaint with the ombud for short-term insurance.”

As the festive season approaches, what used to be a peak time for these business owners is now in a slump.

 Business owners along Bloemhof Dam count their losses after torrential rains:

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Source: SABC News (