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Brace for more increased prices, residents told

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.

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

10 Comments

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  1. $$$ says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

    This man talking nonsense. You cannot add duties to estimates that are the market rates or above as those rates would factor in labor and landed cost of materials. We put a sharp man on TV to sound good and everyone believes what he says.

  2. smith says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    Wow nature’s little secret looking to kill their own

  3. help us says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

    Then we have the dirty landlords who are looking for rent even though the apartment needs fixing after the hurricane. I cry for my people cause government is no help

  4. E.Leonard says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    From flooding to monster hurricanes, 2017 has been a devasting year for the VI and its residents. The VI is struggling to get back on its feet, having been battered by Hurricane Irma on 06 September. The battering caused significant facility (buildings, structures, equipment, utilities) damages, shattered the service-based economy, destroyed infrastructure(ports, roads, electricity)……..etc. Rebuilding cost estimated at $3.6B.

    Moreover, alleged price gouging aside (consumer protection legislation needed), the projected price increases is not unexpected. Put simply, it comes down to economic scarcity, ie, limited resources to meet consumers wants and needs. Reconstruction/recovery resources (skill labour, supplies, equipment, capital) demand exceeds supply; normally there is not enough resources to meet consumer wants and needs.

    As such, to manage demand, limited supply has to be allocated. Typically, price is a means of allocating scarce resources. Consumers who have the means and are willing to pay more usually race to the head of the line.

    Further, the cost of living in paradise will rise but for the many, income may not keep pace with the fast rising cost of living. The months ahead will be painful for consumers. Allocating scarce/limited resources will entail some pain and sacrifices. Consumers should embrace and anticipate some difficult conditions ahead. Recovery is not going to be a stroll or picnic on the beach.

  5. Pure says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    fancy dogma for legalized robbery and extortion of the society.

    ‘demand surge’ for goods and services is nothing more than fancy dogma for legal institutionalized, government sanctioned extortion and robbery from the society, helpless, hopeless, middle class and poor.

    However, there is a good piece of consumer protection legislation sitting in the Premier’s office. Take it out, dust it off and enact it!

    The people need and are asking for such protection.

    The people and country do not need more fancy words advocating more rape of the people by fancy dressed people advocating for more legal robbery of the people.

    Where are the jobs that will sustain such increases? Where is the money that people are not making that will withstand additional price increases and gouging?

    Haven’t the people withstood enough before and after Irmaria?

    Does the business community have a conscience?

    No more price increases in food, rent and basic survival goods for five years would be a more welcoming headline than “more price increases coming.”

    People are literally suffering! Many thousands are jobless, homeless, penniless and grieving.

    Those few that are working are grossly under paid and for a long time can barely feed, clothe and shelter themselves and family.

    But yet those greedy people remain totally addicted to getting and hording more and more green paper.

    He who thought that Irmaria was a catastrophic event was right, but be warned, that was a warning. The RECKONING is coming.

    The country and its people and the abuse of their humanity will end! God has had enough!

    Thousands have suffered greatly, and all can be seen is more gouging and price increasing by the entire business community.

    The greed has exponentially increased beyond any acceptable human standard.

    NDP must do something and do it quick!

    • BVIslander in USA says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Supply and Demand… go learn basic economic principles. Right now the demand curve is pushing upwards to the right while supply in push downwards; there is no equilibrium here. And Lord help you if Pres. Trump’s administration adversely effects the money supply, inflation and interest rates.

      To put it in terms your small and uninformed mind can understand; the BVI building companies and consumers order building supplies from the US primarily. The hurricane in Texas alone place a strain on building supplies companies and labor, the same companies the BVI is going to order from…layer that with demand from USVI, St Martin, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands that are impacted, builders factories are already constructed to produce but so much, a limited quantity daily. If they hire more employees to manufacture items around the clock (factoring in equipment breakage and downtime) that cost has to be passed on to you to the consumer so stop your ignorant rant.

  6. Reader says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    @ “Pure” agreed 100%! Premier (and I’ve been a supporter), please consider this writer’s comments seriously. Yes, our country is getting help here and there, but we still need jobs; without our usual income, we have to eke out a living, even go back to the bank to add to our current debt, to try fix our demolished homes/apts…debt is something to be treated like the plague.What about the plight of others less fortunate? Please do your part to protect and help consumers.

  7. Wes says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    So how do you hire this man to deal with Fagico and Faribbbean?

  8. Pure says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    @ “Reader” Your comments are appreciated and so is your agreement with TRUTH.

    God bless the meek and the down trodden.

    May the feeble and obtuse minds also be blessed.

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