By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
Several weeks after price gouging ran rampant among businesses in the British Virgin Islands, residents are being told to brace for more increased prices.
The warning was from insurance expert Michael Fusco who has been contracted since the hurricanes to help settle insurance claims in the BVI.
He said prices will increase based on the local ‘demand surge’ for goods and services.
Effectively, demand surge is a process resulting in a higher cost to repair property damage after large disasters, than the price to repair the same damage after a small disaster.
Fusco said these inflated costs can reach up to 30 percent higher than the original price of local goods and services.
“What I’m going to tell you here is that the demand surge is still going on and it’s going to get worse,” Fusco said during the Honestly Speaking radio programme last evening.
“What I’m also going to tell you is that the demand surge continues until the supply chain comes back into its normality but it never subsides to the original pricing network that existed before,” he added.
The insurance expert said at least a percentage of demand surge prices should be included in the payouts property owners receive from insurance companies.
Customs duty payment
Property owners are also being told that the cost of Customs duties should be included in their insurance payouts, even while there is Customs duty waiver on items being imported into the territory.
“There was a moratorium on duty. The insurance companies knew that but they were not including duty in their payment offers… the insurance company [should] have paid for the duty because that is the market rate – which is what you are entitled to,” said Fusco, who is an insurance adjuster by profession.
Following the September hurricanes, government said persons are not required to pay import duties on items such as food, water, building materials, electrical fixtures and materials, plumbing fixtures and materials, clothing, vehicles, household furniture and appliances, pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, and other non-luxury items.
The customs duty waiver is expected to end this month but residents have called for an extension. They claimed that they need more time.
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