IN the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the government announced its plans for financial assistance for people whose uninsured homes had been damaged by the storm. But for those affected, this was no pay day – the sums being paid out were such that they were a little help in the pocket, not a chance to rebuild completely.
There was $2,500 for those with minimal damage, $5,000 for medium damage, $7,500 for major and $10,000 if your house was totally destroyed. If your home has been wiped out, then of course $10,000 wasn’t going to go very far in helping you back on your feet.
Then again, this was a compensation to help those without insurance. After all, if the government covered the whole cost of repairs, that would be a large burden on the taxpayer and it would put the insurance companies out of business, right?
So for those who did pay out regular premiums to insurance companies, they could expect a significantly better payout as recompense for the damage their homes suffered. After all, they’ve paid their money to cover for these situations.
That might be the case elsewhere – but as the story on the front page of today’s Tribune reveals, not everyone feels they are being treated fairly.
Lawsuits are being filed on behalf of four clients – one of whom was reportedly offered just $6,067.46 for damage estimated at $39,000. Another case sees an offer of just 16.67 percent of the insured amount – a payout of $15,000.
The court will of course rule on such matters – the case is to be heard on Friday – but if this is a numbers game, payouts of $6,000 or $15,000 for those who have paid out money for insurance aren’t that different from payouts of $5,000 or $10,000 for those without. Where is the incentive to buy insurance if you aren’t going to get a payout when you need it?
Obviously this is just a snapshot of these disputed cases, but it’s only last month that one insurer made the call for all homes and businesses to have mandatory insurance. Imagine being in the position where you’re compelled to pay extra for insurance but still not having value delivered from it when you get a payout.
Insurers have to get the balance right. We don’t know the details of these cases – that’s for the courts to decide - but they need to be careful to make sure the payouts are appropriate.
The government safety net is there to catch people who haven’t been able to make provision otherwise – it shouldn’t be close enough to insurance payouts that people start to depend on it rather than making their own arrangements.
Cemetery planning mess
How has this mess at Woodlawn Gardens Cemetery come about?
Without any approvals given – or even pending – the cul de sacs around it have been opened up to allow funeral traffic to attend burials at the site.
Woodlawn has seemingly built a perimeter road around its border and the other roads are being opened up to give access.
Local residents are understandably angry at this going ahead without planning approval, Minister of Works Desmond Bannister has pledged to “act as quickly as possible” in response and says the government won’t allow the cul de sacs to be opened up. While the Town Planning Committee is going to hold a hearing to allow each site to state their cases? Each side? If there’s no planning approval, what side does the cemetery have except for apologising, promising not to do it again and hoping they don’t get prosecuted?
The opened-up roads need to be closed off again promptly, and funeral traffic needs to stop being directed to use streets to park in that shouldn’t have access without approval.
It doesn’t matter who has carried out this action – if construction or changing of road access is allowed without approval, anyone can go right ahead and build what they like without consequence.
This needs to be put right now – before the courts order the cemetery to put it right.