Managing Director of British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC), Peter Levy says the passing of The Building Act will put Jamaica in good stead for buildings that will be constructed in the future.
The act, which was passed on January 25, provides regulations for the building industry and facilitates the adoption of a National Building Code to ensure safety in the built environment.
BCIC, along with WICHON and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) partnered with Germany-based global reinsurer, Munich Reinsurance Company (Munich Re) to conduct a survey of Jamaica’s built environment.
The survey sought to assess country’s development and building practices and its vulnerabilities to natural disasters, particularly earthquakes.
After the local assessment, Astrid Beck, Underwriter at Munich Re commented: “The passing of the Building Act puts Jamaica on the road towards ensuring that buildings will be much more resilient to disasters and that human lives and property will be.”
Several major natural catastrophes rocked the globe last year, with disasters, including hurricanes and earthquakes, estimated to have cost $160 billion and claimed the lives of 10,400 people worldwide.
According to the AA-rated global reinsurer, Munich Re, this is well above the average annual cost for the last 30 years.
Levy noted that with the building act now passed, Jamaicans still need to adequately protect their assets given the island’s vulnerability to hurricanes and earthquakes.
“Having a homeowner’s insurance policy that fits your home and budget, while making sure protection is adequate, will ensure that you prevent significant financial losses in the case of a natural disaster,” he said.
The Building Act takes into account public safety and welfare, ensuring the accessibility and safety of individuals with disabilities, promoting sustainable development and preventing squatter settlements.