Do you have emergency supplies on hand? Have you purchased non-perishable food items, candles and torches? Perhaps you’ve already turned down the heating in your home or are planning to switch your heating to a heat pump and produce your own electricity using solar panels.
Just as we reflect as individuals and prepare for a possible energy shortage, measures are also being taken at an insurance company such as Helvetia. Our company is naturally part of the energy saving alliance and has been contributing to the savings targets for some time, as I described in my article in April 2022.
Whether, when and how a possible energy supply crisis might arise cannot be predicted precisely. Things never turn out as you expect. As a reliable insurance company, our business activities are centred around assessing risks and, wherever possible, offering appropriate insurance solutions in order to provide the promised benefit in the event of a claim. We want to be there for our customers when it matters.
Insurance companies are groups of people who protect themselves against specific risks and pay a premium for this. This pool of money is then used to pay for financial losses arising from sudden, unforeseen events that affect individual insured persons.
Depending on the cause and extent of power failures, the consequences and losses can vary greatly. Oversleeping in the morning because the electric alarm clock didn't go off, or not being able to use an electric shaver are harmless examples.
But equipment can also fail if the electricity supply is disrupted. Payment systems fail and result in turbulence at supermarket cash registers or even on the financial markets. Because traffic routing systems no longer function there may be increased damage as a result of traffic accidents.
When are the consequences of a power failure insurable? As a rule, this calls for an insured property damage event. If electricity fails, for example, because of a fire or a lightning strike or an avalanche, the consequences can be insured. However, if the disrupted power supply is due to official instructions or the fact that there is less electricity because of a shortage, the situation is different. In this case, the risk cannot be insured.
Ultimately, each person has to take the necessary precautions. There are plenty of tips in circulation at the moment. In addition to everyday measures, larger investments such as insulating buildings or switching to electricity from renewable sources can help. The state does well to offer framework conditions that support these precautions. The costs are likely to be considerably lower than support measures required to deal with a crisis. In contrast to the Covid pandemic, we all have the possibility to prepare at least partially for this type of situation.
The first good steps have already been taken. But many more are needed, even if a crisis does not materialize and if electricity continues to be provided reliably and without interruptions both this and next winter.