Peeling back the risk
Risk and the environment (be it Mother Nature or your place of work) are like peas in a pod … We take a look at the effects of extreme weather on local insurers and how you can keep an eye on the environment in which you find yourself.
Extreme weather events have increased dramatically in the past 20 years, with South Africans experiencing more severe hailstorms, heavier rains and increased flooding – which have caused severe damage to cars, homes and other property. Not all loss relates to physical loss or damage, however …
Extreme weather insurance (other than in the agricultural sector) is relatively rare in South Africa, but it is becoming increasingly common in Europe. This involves instances where severe weather is having a significant impact on businesses, but no actual physical loss or damage has occurred.
Specialist insurers have been providing cover – particularly in the food, leisure and entertainment industries – for cancelled events, reduction in patrons at pubs and restaurants, and even reduced crowds at West End and Broadway productions.
“Event insurance, as it is perhaps too broadly termed in the Lloyds market, is one of the faster growing insurance segments,” says Peter Olyott, CEO of Indwe Broker Holdings, the parent corporation of Indwe Risk Services.
“This is spurred on by the increasing costs associated in hosting events, or the need to sustain turnovers to pay for increasingly valuable retail floor space,” he explains.
Although outright cancellations of events are rare in South Africa, adverse weather does create additional costs and it can result in a reduction in revenue for the organisers, hosts and even providers of accommodation.
“There are owners of open-air restaurants who dread an unseasonal cold snap or deluge, and organisers of outdoor concerts and sports competitions who fear the cancellation costs when severe weather prevents those activities from taking place,” Olyott clarifies.
Given the unpredictable and changing weather patterns seen around the world, the insurance industry needs to adapt. Innovative local insurers should give serious consideration to providing such cover to businesses, whose livelihoods are dependent on the vagaries of the weather.
Mother Nature isn’t the only type of environment that holds risk … Many businesses underestimate the importance of environmental monitoring when it comes to an IT computer room, data centre or other valuable IT assets and facilities. Without environmental monitoring, they risk damage to expensive assets and the loss of data and intellectual property.
In order to address this, Netshield South Africa has developed its Nviromon range, comprising the Nviromon-1 S, Naccumon, Nviromon Lite and Monone software. The company specialises in electronic, mechanical, instrumentation, optical and technological research and development.
The range enables users to remotely monitor and manage their environments in various applications, ranging from home to office. This includes remote management of server rooms, entire business networks or even remote renewable energy sites, from a single management console and a single device.
It can remotely open and close gates, serve as an alarm system (when connected to movement sensors and sirens) and inform users through an SMS or e-mail of power outages as well as other potential outages due to environmental threats.
“Environmental monitoring is vital because computer and network equipment is designed to operate effectively only within a specified range of environmental conditions,” says Inus Dreckmeyr, CEO at Netshield. “And, in a personal capacity, it creates peace of mind in our security-conscious country, because you will know instantly if someone is in your home or if you have left a gate or door open.”
He continues: “This hardware and software solution is perfect for the modern user on the move, as it allows easy remote monitoring of environmental conditions from anywhere on the globe.”
This device also has the ability to monitor and control the conditions inside a room. It can detect whether it is too cold, too hot, too wet or if there are any unwanted gases or a fire.
“With its small form, multiple monitoring tools and ability to integrate seamlessly with existing environments, the Nviromon is the ideal device for customers who are serious about environmental monitoring across multiple applications,” says Dreckmeyr.
Risk and the environment might be peas in a pod, but there are luckily a few “peelers” out there to separate the two …