Caribbean hoteliers facing massive insurance premium hikes

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Caribbean hoteliers, including those in The Bahamas, are being advised to start planning for an increase in insurance premiums anticipated to range from 10 to 40 percent, according to a recent Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) press statement.

The recommendation was made by Scott Stollmeyer, managing director (Barbados and Eastern Caribbean), CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers, at a CHTA webinar earlier this month.

It was prompted by the region’s experience in dealing with Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.

Stollmeyer pointed out that following the hurricanes, insurance companies began reaching out to their clients informing them of the increases that would occur in their next renewal cycles for inland and beach properties.

General Manager of Pelican Bay Hotel on Grand Bahama Magnus Alnebeck was in attendance at the meeting, among other hoteliers.

Alnebeck advised hoteliers that, before a storm, checklists must be made and photos taken of everything. He urged them not to wait until the insurance company visits to start repairing their properties but ensure that any prior repairs are documented.

“After the storm, staff must get a grasp of the state the property is in, taking photos of any damage, and managers should make sure that their staff is looked after, as they are the most valuable asset,” said Alnebeck.

“What we have found is that the quicker you can manage to create some sense of normality, or as we call it ‘the new normal’, you get people into their routines, and it will make the process of getting back quicker.”

He also recommended that hoteliers, who usually have a lot on their plate after a storm, should appoint an individual to be responsible for insurance claims.

Meanwhile, Stollmeyer said for the past eight years, the Caribbean has enjoyed “reduced insurance rates, but that will now change”.

“We are going to be in for some challenging times in the next few years,” said Stollmeyer.

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