Sasria says the projected pay-out will be the highest in its 42-year history
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THE SOUTH African Special Risk Insurance (Sasria), the insurer that offers short-term cover against damages arising from riots, civil unrest and terrorism expects claims arising from the recent spate of looting sprees across KwaZulu-Nata (KZN) and Gauteng to amount to billions of rand.
Managing director at Sasria Cedric Masondo said this week that they had been receiving claims from Saturday and they had tasked the relevant teams to go and assess the damages.
“Business owners who have Sasria cover and had their premises, equipment, vehicles and/or merchandise destroyed or looted as a direct result of the violent riots, can claim from Sasria.” said Masondo.
Sasria does not do direct business with the public but is included in most commercial and consumer insurance policies. The Sasria cover is acquired through commercial insurance companies, which control and manage the claiming processes on behalf of clients.
As many businesses across the country continue to incur loss and damage as a result of the ongoing civil unrest, insurance companies will act as arbitrators and hand over the claim to Sasria.
Depending on the Sasria cover, businesses can receive a payout of between R500-million and R1.5-billion with no excess payments required for Sasria claims.
Masondo said the state-owned insurer projected claim payouts to amount between R3 billion and R7bn due to the ongoing unrest, looting and damage to infrastructure that has engulfed KZN and Gauteng following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.
The arrest and the consequent 15-month prison sentence is believed to have sparked protests that were followed by what is now known as the worst looting spree and act of anarchy that has hit South Africa in recent times.
“Based on what we are seeing on the ground … we estimate that the total value of claims will be anything between R3.5bn to R7bn. These numbers are subject to the riots slowing down and not any more malls being burned. If it continues at the same rate, we may be looking at more that R7bn in terms of value of claims,” said Masondo.
On the legitimacy of claims, Masondo emphasised on the need to treat such cases with the utmost due diligence they required. “We won’t go to court or spend money on lawyers to decide if your claim is valid or not. We are not going to define what a ‘riot’ means and reject claims if it falls outside of the riot definition. From our point of view, these are all Sasria-related claims and payments can be made within a week.”
Masondo said other short-term insurers would not pay for claims if businesses did not have Sasria cover included in their policies.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE