Hurricane Irma: insurers welcome the commitment of the President of the Republic to reform the system of compensation for natural disasters and confirm their commitment to serving the overseas territories

French insurers, represented by FFA president Bernard Spitz, who travelled as a member of the delegation to the Antilles led by the President of the Republic, have emphasised their solidarity with the inhabitants and businesses affected by Irma one year ago.

Hurricane Irma struck the islands of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy in September 2017, resulting in 25,600 claims with an estimated total cost of 1.9 billion Euros. Insurers have been working alongside those affected since the beginning of the event and wish to emphasise their continuing commitment to serving the overseas territories and the French Antilles in particular.

Insurers highlight the need to develop the culture of risk and prevention in these territories, which are regularly exposed to natural events that are often destructive.

Working with the public authorities, the industry is supporting the rebuilding of affected homes and buildings by ensuring that they are made more resilient and that their design takes account of natural weather and climate risks. The recommendations for areas that are particularly exposed to these risks include installation of hurricane shutters and regular maintenance of roofs and of the fixing of roofs to the frame.

Insurers are also involved, in partnership with the Ministry of Overseas France, in raising awareness of hurricane risk through the distribution of educational materials.
The frequency of severe weather events in both the overseas territories and mainland France highlights the need to modernise the system of compensation for natural disasters. Government and insurers are working on a series of proposals to strengthen preventive measures and provide better support to populations dealing with the consequences of adverse weather events.

According to Bernard Spitz, President of the FFA: “By travelling as part of the delegation led by the President of the Republic, I wish once again to highlight how insurers are fully mobilised and working alongside those affected by Hurricane Irma. The industry will continue to be present on these islands, which are regularly affected by weather events. We are also working with the government to reform the system of compensation for natural disasters and, as President Emmanuel Macron announced yesterday, proposals will be presented by the summer of 2019.