Most policies have a prevention of loss clause, i.e. the insurer is expected to take all reasonable precautions to prevent losses. Much can be done – here are a few pointers:
Owners themselves can take extra care in their homes. Use torches, safe lighting and cooking methods during power outages rather than open flames like candles and lanterns with wicks. Make sure that flames are extinguished when power and lights return. Switch off heathers when you are not in the room or when power goes out. Take care with other appliances such as hair dryers, hair irons, irons, pots on stoves, etc.
Trustees can regularly do “walk-about inspections” around the common property. Look out for blocked drains, damaged or blocked gutters, cracked / broken paving, broken glass, leaning walls. Check swimming pool gates, springs, lighting on common property, handrails, balustrades, etc. Look out for anything that could cause harm to a person, especially children, in sectional title environments. Safety around common property is paramount
Encourage owners to maintain their geysers and implement geyser replacement policies. Geysers with 10 year guarantees, where possible, will certainly reduce losses.
Liability and Trustee Indemnity
Trustees should ensure that common property is safe and that all local by-laws and safety standards are met, especially national building regulations. Ensure that the OHS Act is being adhered to (Specification Document /SHE documents) when you deal with contractors; take care with choice of contractors on site and calling for confirmation of liability and/or contractors’ risk cover would be prudent. Keeping the buildings well maintained and in good condition will go a long way towards preventing losses.
It is always a good idea for trustees to be better informed about sectional title legislation, the roles of various parties and their responsibilities. Bodies corporate can purchase the following reference books:
– Paddocks Survival Manual
– Tertius Maree’s Handbook
– Demystifying Sectional title by Marina Constas and Karen Blijs
– The Sectional title Insurance Guide
– Shirley Baillee’s Key Word Access, a simple indexed bound copy of the Act and Prescribed Rules.
The bodies corporate should invest in these books to better equip their trustees. Ultimately, the better informed the trustees, the lower the risk of an error or omission on their part. Trustees should try and attend training seminars where possible.
The writer is inspired by Camargue Underwriting manager’s approach to prevention of loss, it is called the 3M approach, i.e. MIGRATE, MITIGATE AND MANAGE:
Migrate by way of insuring the risk correctly;
Mitigate by way of taking steps such as educating yourself;
Manage risks by way of accessing information and assistance when risks become apparent.
Author: Mike Addison, Addsure
Contact Addsure – The Leaders in Sectional Title Insurance – to get fit and proper advice from advisors who understand Sectional Title. Contact us in Johannesburg (011) 704-3858; Durban (031) 459-1795; Cape Town (021) 551-5069