Picture: 123RF/ADIRUCH
Picture: 123RF/ADIRUCH

Rand Merchant Investment Holdings (RMI) said on Friday that its Australian subsidiary Youi has estimated it could incur gross losses of as much as A$40m (R400m) as a result of bushfires in that country.

Australia has experienced multiple and ongoing bushfires since late November, with a severe drought and high temperatures intensifying the affect of the fires.

Youi’s current estimate of gross losses, which excludes potential reinsurance recoveries, range between $25m and $40m, RMI said in a voluntary update.

The statement noted that the bushfires are ongoing, and that there is still a high level of uncertainty given the restricted access to some areas, which is preventing accurate assessments of many claims.

There have also been longer than usual reporting delays, RMI said, prompting the inclusion of a larger than normal allowance for incurred, but not reported, claims.

Youi’s excess of loss reinsurance cover for catastrophe events is expected to cover a proportion of these losses, the company said. This type of reinsurance provides protection for insurers for losses above a certain amount.

“Looking after our customers affected by these events is our first priority,” said Youi CEO Hugo Schreuder. “We encourage our customers to make contact at the earliest opportunity to lodge a claim and, where possible, we are also proactively trying to contact customers potentially impacted.”