PHILIPSBURG–The St Maarten Insurance Association (SMIA) anticipates increasing insurance premiums by fifteen percent or more this year, said SMIA President Robert de Vries in a letter sent to Daily Herald on Wednesday.
According to the letter, this was due to the recent global natural disasters impacting the reinsurance market, resulting in a shortage of coverage available in the Caribbean region. “Unfortunately, this means we have no choice but to pass these increased fees on to policyholders.”
This increase is primarily due to the 2022 results, which saw 421 severe weather events, ranging from widespread ice storms in France to catastrophic seasonal floods in Pakistan and India, fires and devastating hurricanes in the Americas and Australia, and severe droughts in Europe.
These extreme weather events garnered a total insured payout of approximately US$132 billion, with a total (uninsured) economic loss equivalent to approximately $313 billion. It was the second most expensive year on record for a reinsurance company, second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the letter explained.
“We understand that this news can be difficult to hear, especially given the challenges you’ve faced with rising inflation and other economic problems. We want you to know that we are doing everything we can to minimize the impact of this premium increase. However, we anticipate that your residential and commercial property premiums may increase by 15% or more.
“We also want to remind you that St. Maarten is located in a very active hurricane belt, and it’s important to ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage in case of any unforeseen events. We encourage you to speak with your local insurance representative if you have any questions, comments or concerns,” concludes De Vries.