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Santam limits Covid-19 'business interruption' pay-outs to 3 months' losses

13 January 2021 9:10 AM
Tags:
SCA
Western Cape High Court
Insurance
Personal finance
Supreme Court of Appeal
Refilwe Moloto
santam
short-term insurance
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
Lockdown
COVID-19
business interruption insurance
covid-19 in south africa
PJ Veldhuizen
Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated
Guardrisk

"The indemnity period is now the question," says lawyer PJ Veldhuizen. "I think Santam is going to be unsuccessful."

Santam is limiting the court-forced pay-outs to its lockdown hit clients to three months’ worth of losses – and hoping it can convince the Supreme Court of Appeal that doing so is sufficient.

It seems sneaky but, in this industry, it is business as usual, says PJ Veldhuizen (Managing Director at Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated).

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Santam came under fire for first refusing to pay its suffering business clients who took out pandemic-related cover.

Santam argued that the businesses suffered financial losses because of the government’s lockdown, not the Covid-19 pandemic itself.

In July 2020, the Western Cape High Court ruled that insurer Guardrisk must pay out business interruption claims of local restaurant Cafe Chameleon.

It was hailed a victory, but back then Veldhuizen – speaking to The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield – said, "I think it is too early for champagne, but it is first blood to the insured. "

Refilwe Moloto asked Veldhuzien about the legal challenges facing Santam’s move to limit their Covid-19 business interruption pay-outs to three months.

The insurers have conceded. The indemnity period is now the question… Santam sought to limit it from 18 to three months… The Western Cape High Court considered it, and found in favour of the insured…

PJ Veldhuizen, Managing Director - Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated

A cynic may say Santam is trying to avoid paying out. But shareholders wouldn’t be happy if it pays out when there’s an arguable case on appeal… Santam will ask for leave to appeal…

PJ Veldhuizen, Managing Director - Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated

A cynic may say they’re trying to play for time, hoping these restaurants go out of business… I don’t think that is fair, they’re exercising their rights…

PJ Veldhuizen, Managing Director - Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated

I think Santam is going to be unsuccessful … You only need to read the judgment… They came down on the side of the insured. I don’t think the SCA is going to upset that judgment.

PJ Veldhuizen, Managing Director - Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated

There’s an argument that they should make that interim payment now, and then see what the SCA says if they get leave to appeal…

PJ Veldhuizen, Managing Director - Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated

Listen to the interview in the audio below.




13 January 2021 9:10 AM
Tags:
SCA
Western Cape High Court
Insurance
Personal finance
Supreme Court of Appeal
Refilwe Moloto
santam
short-term insurance
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
Lockdown
COVID-19
business interruption insurance
covid-19 in south africa
PJ Veldhuizen
Gillan and Veldhuizen Incorporated
Guardrisk

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