The Aftermath of a Tragedy

by | Mar 6, 2023 | 0 comments


We are all aware of the tragedy which occurred on 24 December 2022 when a tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exploded underneath a railway bridge in Boksburg. Whilst our sympathy is with everyone affected by the incident, we have a need to discuss what happened that fateful day, as an example of the unforeseen.

Although we cannot predict incidents of this nature, we all realise accidents do happen, and whilst we should do our best to prevent and mitigate occurrences of this magnitude, it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the result.

The question of insurance

We are quick to say, “but we are insured against it”. But are we? Furthermore, what did you do, or did you not do to excuse, prevent, minimise or mitigate any unforeseen loss?

We are not only responsible for our own actions, but also for the actions of our employees. The incident may be a direct action or remote, deliberate or accidental, or the result of not taking action to prevent or mitigate the consequences. Despite the prevailing circumstances, it will result in a loss which in the end will be expressed in monetary terms, quite often recoverable from the entity responsible for the cause.

Whilst insurance cannot undo the incident, it can compensate clients who have a legal claim against the wrongdoer in so much as it is an indemnifiable claim in terms of the policy.

Damage to the property of a person (natural or legal) can be insured and if adequate, the loss and continued suffering resulting from the damage, can be relieved.

However, loss may not be limited to your own property but may spread further to third party injuries or damage to third party property. 

Whilst we cannot always foresee an incident by means of insurance, we can in many instances arrange to protect ourselves financially from the consequences of such a loss.

Buy all the protection you can afford

Protection can be obtained for material damage to your own property as well as loss or damage to third party property following an incident for which you may be responsible, including any unexpected loss in income or cost incurred to prevent such loss.

Whilst we can calculate and assess damage to our own property and those for which we are responsible, as well as the possible loss of income, the same does not apply to the loss of or damage to third party property as well as death or bodily injury to third parties. Such loss or damage can be substantial and whilst no one can put a value to it, we should buy as much protection as we can afford. 

Unfortunately, we cannot predict the future, nor can we assume an accident will never happen to us. When the unforeseen comes our way, it will be too late to ask ourselves why did we not make the necessary provision to deal with the consequences.

It is also important to take cognisance of the fact that traditional limits of indemnity will not necessarily keep abreast with court awards, legal costs, inflation, and even group or class action suits.

Be sure to align potential risk with indemnity

Beware of personal conduct and that of your employees. Be diligent in calculating your protection for the future. Be careful and prudent when arranging your insurance portfolio and the limits of indemnity you include. Also be sure to check that the indemnity you are purchasing, aligns with the potential exposure and risks that could  ruin you financially.

Whilst insurers cannot foresee the future, insurers can mitigate the consequences of the unforeseen because in insurance, the premiums of the many pay for the unfortunate losses of the few.

The reality of the Boksburg tragedy is that it cannot be reversed. The damage has been done and the consequences will result in complicated legal processes which will take many years to unfold. Insurers are likely to be exposed to a considerable amount of loss, damage, and liability that will be unpacked during the investigations to determine exactly how and what happened.

Sadly, a tragedy cannot be reversed nor quantified.

In the context of the unforeseeable, the devastating earthquakes that have recently struck Turkey and Syria are other prime examples of how such disasters have left thousands of people dead and others destitute. So many innocent people have succumbed to their injuries and families have been separated. The physical destruction to property will run into trillions of US Dollars and no time frame of reinstating the damage can be calculated. 

What we can surmise from these recent tragedies, is when it comes to loss of life and damage to property, the financial element and or compensation can never be accurately measured, but ultimately, insurance can bring some form of relief to the aggrieved individuals and other parties that have suffered the consequences. 

However, when it comes to loss of life, no one can put a price on it.

At Consort, we have the skills and experience to assist you with your requirements when it comes to dealing with the engineering insurance indemnity and guidance for exposures and risks that can leave you in distress or even financial ruin.

Please contact your Broker directly to approach Consort in assisting with your requirements.

The wise do not compromise

Consort Technical Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd (FSP 2273) underwritten by Lombard Insurance Company Limited (FSP 1596) an Insurer licensed to conduct non-life insurance business.