The perfect storm – Avernakø Marina
The sheer might of nature is beyond comprehension,” Henning Storm, chairman of Avernakø Marina, reflects as he gazes upon the remnants of the island’s marina. “But through adversity, the human spirit shines its brightest.”
The floodwaters left a trail of devastation in their wake. A section of the marina’s bridge drifted all the way to Lyø, accompanied by an electric pillar.
Henning estimates, “Rebuilding our defenses and the harbor might cost us 5-6 million kroner. It’s a significant sum.”
But therein lies a challenge. Avernakø’s harbor is uninsured.
“We need to find a way to cover the cost,” he says. “We had an insurance consultant visit us a few months ago who advised against taking insurance, given the specifics.”
Although Avernakø is recognized by the Natural Disaster Council as an area affected by the storm surge, certain structures, like bridges and piers, aren’t covered by their insurance scheme.
Bent Ole Jonsen, chairman of FLID, explains, “Few insurance companies cover bridges and piers. It’s costly for harbors to insure themselves due to these high premiums.”
Jonsen, who is also a board member of Hejlsminde Harbor, faces a similar challenge. “Our harbor suffered extensive damage, and we face a monumental task ahead. Ensuring our harbor is almost prohibitively expensive. We must rise to the challenge, for history has shown us that this will happen again.”
Henning and his board faced a tough choice on Avernakø: to insure the harbor with a hefty annual premium or to save up for potential disasters. “The premium was too high for us,” he admits.
Torben Weiss Garne, deputy director at Insurance & Pension, confirms, “Ensuring harbors can be exorbitantly expensive. Instead, harbors should focus on preventative measures to mitigate future damages.”
Despite their efforts to save, Avernakø was hit before they could amass a substantial reserve. Now, they face a considerable bill.
Bent Ole Jonsen warns, “Many harbors struggle with insurance. Catastrophes like these can devastate a harbor completely, rendering it inoperable.”
He adds, “The current insurance exclusions are based on past events. It’s a challenge for insurers to set prices without comprehensive coverage. Our association, FLID, is exploring ways to safeguard our future, but more help is needed.”
Back on Avernakø, despite the challenges, Henning remains resilient. “That fateful night tested us. Yet, it was heartwarming to witness the unity of the island’s residents and even strangers coming together in solidarity. Our next step is to find the resources to rebuild our marina and defenses so that we stand strong against future storms.”