Santam's three-month settlement offer 'flying in the face of policy and courts'
The short-term insurer is offering a three-month full and final settlement offer to clients that have Covid-19 business interruption insurance claims.
This comes after a huge court victory for the hospitality industry in November last year when the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of Ma-Afrika Hotels and Stellenbosch Kitchen in its case against Santam.
Santam was forced to acknowledge that it is liable for business interruption claims resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, it will only offer claimants in the hospitality and leisure sector a settlement to cover three months of losses.
This despite the fact that some policyholders have much longer indemnity periods in their contracts.
Santam's three-month offer is pending the outcome of its appeal at the Supreme Court over the indemnity period.
Anel Bestbier of Thomson Wilks, who led the landmark Ma-Afrika case against Santam, says the battered hospitality industry cannot afford any further delays and legal wrangling.
Bestbier says her clients will be opposing Santam's appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal. The insurer's application for leave to appeal will be heard on Tuesday 16 February.
She says the High Court victory last yeat may prove to be hollow because Santam refuses to cooperate, despite having the legal certainity it initially sought.
Santam has finally come around and admitted that they are liable to indemnify these clients... Unfortunately, in the Ma-Afrika matter, they have indicated that they intend to proceed with the appeal on the indemnity period issue.Anel Bestbier, Director - Thomson Wilks Attorneys
The question arises: Will Santam be making interim payments to clients who have similar policies to that of Ma-Afrika? Unfortunately, we have yet to receive any confirmation of that.Anel Bestbier, Director - Thomson Wilks Attorneys
This settlement suggestion or offer that's being made to clients as a whole - a full and final three months offer - is flying directly in the face of their policy and specifically the Ma-Afrika judgment.Anel Bestbier, Director - Thomson Wilks Attorneys
Santam has from day one said that they want legal certainty... Now they have that legal certainty and they are just saying they are not happy with the legal certainty they have now got.Anel Bestbier, Director - Thomson Wilks Attorneys
Listen to the discussion on Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto:
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