In June this year, victims reported to insurers more than 50,000 losses caused by floods and flooding – estimates the Polish Chamber of Insurance. About 60% of the reported claims were handled by using simplified procedures. As a result, the victims received money within 1-5 days of notifying the insurer of the damage.
Most of the losses are valued at a few thousand zlotys. However, there are also amounts many times as high. The highest claim reported so far was estimated by insurers at PLN 1.3 million.
‘In cases of flooding, most of the losses concern water damage and do not even require an expert’s visit at the scene of the incident. However, there are cases where the flood destroys everything and the victims are left without a roof over their heads. In these situations, in addition to compensation corresponding to the value of the house and the property destroyed, insurers pay advances for the most urgent needs and, as part of assistance, may also offer accommodation to the victims’,
says J. Grzegorz Prądzyński, President of the Management Board of the Polish Chamber of Insurance.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF NATURAL FORCES MUST BE PREVENTED
The June flooding confirms that violent weather events occur every year in Poland. Unfortunately, there are no reasons to expect an improvement in the situation. ‘Climate change makes violent storms, strong winds and gales more frequent in Poland. Insurers are financially and organisationally prepared to provide assistance to the victims’, says J. Grzegorz Prądzyński.
During this year’s flooding, we were faced with so-called ‘flash floods’. They are not related to overflowing rivers, but to violent rainfall, during which excess water cannot be drained away. This is closely linked to poor spatial planning.
‘We need a coherent climate risk management strategy and adequate prevention.
Otherwise, weather events will be ever more damaging. It will be increasingly difficult to cover the losses from private savings. Household or apartment policy is essential, but insurance should be part of, not a substitute for, the national climate risk management strategy’, says J. Grzegorz Prądzyński.
FLOOD: STRATEGY IS KEY
In the report entitled ‘The climate of risk’, released at the end of 2018, the Polish Chamber of Insurance included recommendations on climate risk management. These include:
- a review and necessary revisions of spatial planning regulations;
- development of local risk management plans, together with residents, businesses and non-governmental organisations;
- development of a homogeneous approach to the collection of statistical data;
- an increase in expenditure on educational and information activities.
On top of this year’s negative weather events, there was also the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Insurance coverage is particularly important during a crisis. The fact that, because of the pandemic, we spend more time at home does not mean that the risk of an accident decreases. In some cases, it is even rising. That is why we should all the more have appropriate policies to hand.
Let us remember that the need to pay for damages out of our own pockets, especially when we have less money, can be a huge burden on the household budget’, points out J. Grzegorz Prądzyński.