Load shedding 'chaos' a headache for short-term insurers, says Discovery Insure CEO

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Discovery Insure says shorter trips esult in more accidents as bumper bashing is more common. It becomes even worse when traffic lights aren't working because of load shedding.
Discovery Insure says shorter trips esult in more accidents as bumper bashing is more common. It becomes even worse when traffic lights aren't working because of load shedding.

As people drive more, motor insurance claims climb. And short trips are bringing a bit of a headache for insurers - with bouts of load shedding not helping either.

Discovery Insure says people are almost driving as much as they did before Covid-19. Most are driving shorter trips to the shops and possibly other places around their homes.

'All sorts of chaos'

The insurer says short distance trips – those driving less than 10 km per trip – have increased by 1.9%. But trips longer than 10 km are still down 5.3% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

"If I compare ourselves now in September, October, the last two months numbers to where we were pre-pandemic, we are around about 90% of pre-pandemic kilometres. We are varying month to month between 90% and 95% of pre-pandemic kilometres," says Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip.

"Smaller trips generally result in more accidents, not necessarily big accidents, but more accidents, because bumper bashing and things like that take place," says Ossip.

When the traffic lights aren't working because of load shedding, the situation is exacerbated.

"When the traffic lights aren't working, it creates all sorts of chaos. And there definitely would be more intersection accidents taking place as a result of that," he explains.

Ossip says he cannot not put an exact number on the rate at which accidents increase during load shedding. The insurer is finding it hard to isolate these incidents, given that load shedding schedules are not always predictable.

But where it has a better idea of the damage caused by load shedding is on household claims that power surges cause.

"When the power comes back on, it creates havoc in people's homes. So, from an insurance perspective, load shedding is a bad thing," says Ossip.

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