The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) has observed with appreciation the efforts by all who played a role in containing the fires that engulfed Cape Town this week. We commend those affected for prioritising safety over possessions and are thankful that no human lives have been lost as far as we are aware.
Our thoughts are with the firefighters who were hospitalised during the difficult exercise of containing the fire. Good firefighting services are essential to save lives and to protect valuable assets. SAIA appreciates the importance of this as well as the fact that firefighters are putting themselves at risk every time they fight a fire.
As the association representing the non-life insurance industry, we do not directly insure the impacted assets, but our members do. We are confident that the insurance companies are ready to assist policyholders as soon as possible.
Since the fire has just been contained, and most roads leading to the damaged areas remain closed, it will only be after a few days that our members will begin to know the extent of the damage and the costs involved for the non-life insurance industry.
The quantification of the damages is an exercise that will follow, after the relevant authorities in the area open to the sites to the insurers to inspect the fire damages. This may take another day or even more as city authorities must be sure that those sites are now safe areas.
Insurance is a vehicle used to assist society to recover following a loss event, such as the unfortunate Cape Town fires. Insurance covers both the aspect of property and lives at risk. Insurance is therefore that tool that supports policyholders, and their respective insured to get back to their “prior loss event” financial position. It is the industry’s core purpose, within our society to do so, and we will continue to support our policyholders during these times of need.