Kenyan insurers consider options as owners continue to be hit

As it turns out, relief may or may not be on the way for people that have been hit hard by post-election violence in Kenya.

The situation in Kenya as it exists today is largely unchanged from the post election violence mode that the country has been in ever since the opposition party started throwing around accusations of the election being fixed.

Unfortunately, one of the groups that have been hit the hardest by the violence in that country has been owners of property and international real estate investors. The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya has estimated that the damage caused to destroyed property can be valued in over 100 billion units of local currency and while not all of that (or even the majority of it) has been laid at the feet of international property investors, people that have put their savings into the Kenyan property market have certainly seen destruction of their investments on a large scale.

What has made this pill even harder to swallow for most international property investors is the fact that the vast majority of insurance companies working in Kenya do not actually offer any kind of insurance that covers political unrest. The political risk is something that insurance companies make very clear to clients they have to live with if they want to invest in the country's real estate market.

According to Roy Gichuhi, the chief executive officer of the Association of Kenya Insurers, insurance companies may decide anyway however to cover some people for the destruction of their property. This coverage is not mandatory and would be based on the goodwill of the insurance companies, but it might be possible to get at least some money towards repairing property that was lost in the Kenyan post election violence.

Gichuhi did not comment on how the individual insurance companies would decide to do things, although he did hint that people with larger property holdings and people that have sentimental attachment and long dealings with the different insurers might be given a higher priority for reimbursement when the insurance companies got around to deciding who to pay.

The bottom line is that nobody can expect payment from insurance companies over damaged property in Kenya, but the companies might voluntarily decide to reimburse some owners.