Insurer Old Mutual Insure says it is working quickly to finalise looting-related claims – which it is mandated to handle on behalf of State-owned insurance company South African Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria) – within three weeks so that affected small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can get back on their feet expeditiously.
“These claims are our biggest priority right now because we want to get businesses back up and running not only so that they can contribute towards the economy, but so that jobs are secure and families can put food on the table,” says Old Mutual Insure sales and service claims CE Hennie Nortje.
The company has pledged R10-million towards coordinating efforts to rebuild SMEs in affected areas.
It aims to have all specified cars and trucks covered in terms of the Sasria extension assessed this week and has further committed to settle and/or make interim payments for 80% of looting-related claims within three weeks.
Nortje says it is incredibly important that the insurance industry work as fast as possible to help businesses rebuild.
“We believe the best way the insurance industry can contribute to rebuilding the economy is to commit to prioritising these claims and get them processed quickly so that there are no job losses and that we ultimately help save our clients’ livelihoods.
"We therefore invite all other insurers, who are working with Sasria, to join us in publicly pledging to settle and/or make interim payments for 80% of claims by latest middle of August 2021, as well as to match our relief efforts,” he emphasises.
The cost of damages resulting from the unrest action on insured and non-insured businesses is yet to be determined.
However, Old Mutual Insure notes that it has had an influx of claims since July 12 and, judging from past catastrophe experience, it anticipates a large volume of clams to still be reported.
The company has also announced a further set of relief measures to help SMEs, including a 30% premium reduction to specific SME customers.
“For hard-hit SMEs, especially in the leisure, tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors, a premium reduction will go a long way towards easing the financial burden – and uncertainty – that this period has imposed on vulnerable businesses,” Nortje notes.
The SME premium relief is currently being applied to Commercial and Agri policies in qualifying occupational sectors.
It will be valid in August and applies to the monthly instalment paid by SMEs on policies opened on or before June 1. Identified customers do not need to apply for the discount and will automatically qualify if they meet the criteria.