Natural disaster insurance takes effect
1 March 2006, BRUSSELS — New federal legislation automatically insuring the public against natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes came into force on Wednesday.
1 March 2006
BRUSSELS — New federal legislation automatically insuring the public against natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes came into force on Wednesday.
It means insurance against natural disasters will automatically become part of a policyholder's fire insurance.
Consequently, fire insurance policies will increase in price by several euros, giving insurance against floods, earthquakes and water damage from heavy storms.
The exact increase in premiums will depend on where someone lives. Those who live in a high-risk area will need to pay more.
People who don't receive insurance in their policy can contact a 'tariffs bureau' which will determine at what price they can be insured.
For the insurance firm, the new federal legislation means that every natural disaster must be covered up to a maximum of EUR 280 million.
When that figure is exceeded, the federal government's disaster fund will pay the necessary compensation.
It means that, in general, victims of natural disasters will not need to wait until damage to their property is officially assessed to have been caused by a natural disaster.
In the past, the public was only compensated when the government's assessment indicated a natural disaster had occurred.
The Belgian government therefore opted last year to establish private natural disaster insurance.
Taking effect on 1 March, the law means that anyone who takes out fire insurance today will also be automatically covered for natural disasters.
But those who already have fire insurance — estimated to be 85 percent of the population — will need to contact their insurance firm to have natural disaster coverage added to their existing policy.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news