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Insurance – Lodging claims for business to recover losses arising from civil unrest

Reading Time 2 minute read

Much has already been said and written on the capacity of insurance claims being lodged for businesses to recover losses arising from the recent events (and the time it will take for these claims to be processed and paid may be a consideration that businesses should take onboard in considering whether to secure protection under any restructuring process or regime available).

South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that offers insurance cover for losses arising from risks such as rioting, terrorism, civil disobedience, public disorder, strikes and the like. However, there is only one insurance company in the country that covers these risks – the state owned South African Special Risk Insurance Association (Sasria). It is important that this cover, like any other insurance cover, must be in place – usually as an add-on to other insurance cover taken out with one of the commercial insurance companies. Although the premium paid for cover under Sasria is fairly minimal, cover is not compulsory and some business may have elected to exclude such cover from operating as part of their ordinary insurance cover. Parties wishing to claim under Sasria will also be required to demonstrate that the loss falls within the type of risk covered by Sasria. In other words, the loss must be as a result of civil unrest (for example) and not due to general criminality. It is also important to review the scope and extent of your protection under the Sasria cover – for instance, does it include consequential interruption loss?

Time is of the essence: you must get in touch with your broker in relation to your claim. Your broker must then notify Sasria – and this must be done within a period of 30 days after the date on which you have notified your broker of your claim.

It is also key and critical that you take all steps together with all evidence supporting your claim. You cannot simply sit back and think that your claim is covered by reason of the public nature of the recent events. The law still requires that you complete the exercise and perform all acts required and necessary to lodge your claim for it to be considered and assessed.

It is also important that you gather and retain all photographic and any video evidence supporting your claim. Please ensure, for instance, that all CCTV footage is preserved as often this footage is lost after a few days. 


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