Load shedding: Insurance companies issue new warnings

Criminals are allegedly targeting areas hit by load shedding, knowing security features will not be active.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Insurance companies have warned consumers of a new trend where criminals allegedly target areas affected by load shedding, knowing alarms and other security features will not be active.

The companies said this was just one of many problems facing insurers as load shedding continues.

Consumers are also complaining that appliances such as microwaves, TVs and cellphones burn out as a result of power surges when electricity is finally restored.

In severe cases, some houses have also caught fire when power was restored.

Absa Insurance Division's Andries van Staden said criminals are taking advantage of those being left vulnerable during load shedding by targeting homes.

"If during load shedding the alarm or electric fence doesn't work, we will not hold that against our policy holders."

CEO of Mua Insurance Acceptance Christelle Fourie agreed.

"There's definitely an increase to it because during load shedding it is pitch dark and many homes are very vulnerable."

Fourie said other claims related to damage caused by load shedding have spiked significantly since cuts were implemented last year, with almost 2,000 extra claims made.

"We also dealt with a claim in KwaZulu-Natal where a house burnt down after a hairdryer was left switched on."

She said this year alone her company has paid out an extra R25 million to clients for load shedding damage.

Fourie said some people also falsely blamed load shedding when making claims.

Insurance companies are also warning consumers to unplug all appliances while waiting for power to be restored to avoid surges.

To view your load shedding schedule, _ click here_.

Read more on how to survive load shedding, _ here_.