Tonge spoke of the importance of insuring properties

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, Tourism Minister, Robert Tonge, has called on property owners in the tourism sector to makes sure that they have proper insurance.

Speaking at a signing ceremony for amendments to a loan facility at the AID Bank which targets those in the tourism and manufacturing sector, he said properties must be insured in order to be certified.

“As a prudent operator, as a prudent business person one must insure their property and you should not only insure your building, you have to insure your stock, you have to insure for the removal of debris and you also have to insure for loss of profit,” he stated.

He stated that property owners should not self-insure.

“So we ask persons to ensure that they do not self-insure,” Tonge remarked. “It is practically impossible for you to save money and self-insure and be able to compete and completely repair your property. As you can see some of the damages are very extensive and there is no way persons going to have that amount of money in their business account to repair the property, for all the business that they have lost, all the stock that they have lost.”

Hence, he said it is important that property owners get insurance.

“As a matter of fact, going forward this is the recommendations that we will be making that as part of the certification process, one will have to have property insurance, one has to have insurance on their stock and even including loss of profits,” he pointed out. “That way when you have a storm, you will have no issues unless you under-insured.”

Tonge urged property owners to make sure that their property is insured for the right amount, “so that you are not penalized in any way, shape or form.”

The loan facility had an original rate of 3 percent interest but in a bid to stimulate the economy after Hurricane Maria, the government has made a number of amendments to it, among them a reduction of the rate to 2 percent.

Tonge also said the amendments include the repair and renovation of existing hotel and restaurant facilities; renovation of facilities providing accommodation for medical students; the financing of renewable energy and climate-smart components of operations; the financing of local capital of no more than 20 percent of the amount.

He stated that the loan moratorium will be in effect for six months.