Property worth billions of kwacha, destroyed during the Anti-Ansah demonstrations will go uncompensated because insurance companies do not indemnify damages caused by political and civil riots, insurance experts have told Weekend Nation.
President of Insurance Association of Malawi (IAM) Donbell Mandala indicated that there is a general exclusion of cover on damages as a result of political riot and strike under normal policies.
“Damages as a result of political riot and strike are not covered. However, very few companies bought the special risk cover on political riot and strike and those would be compensated subject to the terms and conditions of the policy offered by the underwriting insurers,” he said.
Mandala said most companies don’t get cover for riots and strikes due to, among other factors, lack of knowledge.
“There is a policy to bridge the gap. But the cost is not very cheap, especially when buying towards elections,” he explained, adding that some people, however, think that the risk of political riot and strike is minimal; hence, only buy a general insurance policy which does not cover terrorism, sabotage, riots, strikes and/or civil commotion, among others.
While police does not have the quantified figure of the cost of the damage, in its August 7 2019 report, capturing incidents of damages recorded during demonstrations, police said the damage inflicted on public and private properties were extensive.
The police recorded 24 incidents of damages to property, including burning of houses, looting of shops and smashed ATM machines for different banks at different places across Lilongwe.
It also showed that vehicles MG311AJ Toyota Coaster and DZ 2560 Toyota Hiace were burnt while BR 9258 Nissan Hardbody, NS 7673 Nissan X-Trail, MG 814 AD, MG 124 AE, MG 812 AD and MG 584 Z were also damaged.
“But the damage would be greater if the whole country is assessed,” National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said on Wednesday.
In June, 25 people who had their property destroyed during the violent June 20 nationwide demonstrations claimed they lost property worth K545 802 450 million.
Kadadzera said some of the victims are opting to engage private valuers to assess their losses; hence, police does not have a national figure.
“What we have received are cases of damages. We do not know the total cost of the damages because some items were reported without giving us the cost of the damaged property.
“And what we have is what was reported to our police stations, but some people are opting to handle the matters on their own,” he explained.
Nationwide protests broke out across the country following opposition political parties’ displeasure at how the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) managed the 2019 Tripartite Elections.