Tips to mitigate against load-shedding related losses

Eskom occasionally implements power cuts across the country as a strategy to ease pressure on the supply of electricity. As the country is plunged into darkness, individuals and companies become anxious about the disruptions and the consequent loss or damage to property that may occur.

Apio’s claims team has seen an influx of load-shedding related losses, ranging from damaged electrical goods such as TVs to deterioration of stock. They have also seen the worsening of crime-related claims such as thefts and robberies.

Apio urges clients to not only ensure that the necessary cover is in place but to follow several risk management practices to avoid or minimize their losses due to load shedding. This is what they put together to help you.

Ensure you have the right cover in place

If you cannot easily replace an item using cash without causing strain to your finances or cash flow, it is advisable to have it insured. Even in cases where one can afford a cash replacement, the money used could be invested or diverted to other uses. Always ensure that the right cover is in place.

Apio’s insurer partners will cover losses due to power surge as a result of load shedding. Cover for such losses will vary according to policies, from R50,000 to R100,000 on business policies and R50,000 up to sum insured on personal lines. However, certain conditions will apply to guard against the high frequency of such losses. These include the requirements such as the installation of SABS approved surge protectors on the DB Boards in the insured premises. Additional cover is also available at request, with similar conditions.

Ensure you have the required insurer risk mitigating solutions in place

Different insurers will apply varying conditions as risk management practices to mitigate losses; Apio’s insurer partners are no exception to this. For instance, for load shedding claims to be fully covered, they require that the insured installs surge protection on the electrical DB Boards and appliances.

Where a loss occurs and this requirement is not met, an additional excess will apply, as stated on the policy schedule, varying from one insurer to the other. Some insurers may not provide cover at all. Meeting the required risk mitigation requirements will see these excesses waived.

Switch off sensitive appliances

Follow your load-shedding schedule to switch off sensitive gadgets and equipment to eliminate the risk of damage to appliances that are sensitive to surges such as cellphones, televisions, laptop computers.

Companies could invest in inverters and UPS to avoid disruptions.

However, there are instances where the electricity supplier will cut the power without necessarily following the schedule or notifying consumers and in such instances having surge arrestors installed will protect your sensitive equipment from the effects of electricity supply fluctuations.

Some of Apio’s insurer partners will assist with the sourcing of surge devices which are easily installed on your DB board by a registered electrician. Please speak to your Apio Team for more information.

Be cautious and ensure that your premises are secured

Criminals may take advantage of the situation and invade premises during a blackout or in some instances during the day. It is, therefore, necessary to be extra vigilant and apply any risk management strategies to reduce the risk of theft/robbery.

For instance, one may install power reserves to ensure that security equipment such as electric fencing, electric gates, sensors and even the alarm systems remain active.

Furthermore, the insurer expects that the insured party takes necessary steps to ascertain that the security devices such as alarms are in proper working conditions at all times. Since load shedding may cause systems to wear out faster, it may be necessary to regularly check that your alarm systems are working to avoid any glitches at claims stage.

Lastly, locking up premises during a blackout could not only reduce chances of theft but, in case of an unfortunate event, forcible and violent entry and exit will be evidence for a successful claim.

As we approach the rainy season, South Africans are even more likely to face abrupt power cuts. These cuts will necessitate the need for households and businesses to invest in risk management solutions to curb the effects of power outages in addition to having the proper insurance covers in place.