Ms Viviene Pearson, SAIA Acting Chief Executive

Johannesburg – The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) has called on consumers to take the necessary steps to protect themselves against the damage or loss of property caused by or related to load shedding, and to make sure that they have adequate insurance cover.

“We are currently finding ourselves in a changed environment and we need to adapt to it,” said SAIA Acting Chief Executive, Ms Viviene Pearson. “This requires more vigilance in protecting our belongings and ensuring that we have adequate insurance cover,” added Pearson.

The SAIA advised that there are different insurance products available to address the potential risks associated with load shedding for both businesses and individuals. This includes cover for the following risks, amongst others:

- Damage brought on by power surges
- Loss through theft or burglary
- Damage to machinery and equipment
- Business loss of profit following machinery breakdown

The SAIA urged consumers to talk to their insurers and/or brokers to ensure that they are covered for risks related to load shedding. The Association also urged all consumers to be on high alert during load shedding periods as this could potentially lead to burglaries, theft and hijackings. The SAIA shared the following security tips with consumers:

- Unplug appliances not in use during load shedding. This will minimise the chances of damage occurring
- Install surge protectors in your home or business to prevent a massive sudden flow of power when electricity is restored
- Regularly test your alarm system and ensure that it is in working order
- Arrange for a neighbour to inspect your premises on a regular basis while you are away on holiday
- Make sure that someone knows where to contact you in case of an emergency
- Advise your security company that you will be away and who they can contact in your absence
- Ensure that electric fencing and gates still work during a blackout, or request more regular patrols and checks from your security company
- Install backup batteries and maintain them regularly

Ms Pearson confirmed that insurers have the consumer’s interest at heart and are committed to the fair treatment of their customers. “Policy holders should take comfort and be assured that insurers will assess and consider each claim on an individual basis, taking into account the merit and circumstances surrounding the claim,” said Pearson.