Second insurer agrees to pay Covid-19 lockdown business interruption claims

Two insurance companies have agreed to pay business interruption claims from businesses forced to close during the national lockdown. File image
Two insurance companies have agreed to pay business interruption claims from businesses forced to close during the national lockdown. File image
Image: 123rf/Everyday Plus

Insurance Claims Africa (ICA) has welcomed the decision by Hollard and Guardrisk to pay claims from businesses forced to close during the national lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

This follows the recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling in favour of the business interruption claim made by Café Chameleon, a Guardrisk customer . On December 18, the company said it would abide by the ruling.

Ryan Woolley, CEO of ICA, said Hollard has since also agreed to start processing claims as long as the policies contained the appropriate and similar cover to the policy assessed by the SCA in the Café Chameleon case.

"However, Santam has refused to accept the outcome, arguing the cases are materially different," he said.

The ICA said it represents more than 850 claimants in the tourism and hospitality sector in their battle to get large insurers to pay business interruption claims. Woolley said the effects of the pandemic were also affecting other sectors.

In November, the Western Cape High Court found in favour of luggage retailer Interfax, ordering Old Mutual Insure to cover the applicant's pandemic-related losses.

“It is clear this matter is impacting companies beyond the tourism and hospitality sector.

"The ICA has been approached by many companies in other sectors, including retail and manufacturing, and will be representing them with the same determination as our claimants in the tourism and hospitality sector.

"All these businesses bought business interruption insurance with specific inclusions for infectious or contagious notifiable diseases, and they also deserve a fair resolution to their business interruption policy claims.” 

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