South African business owners are unsure whether they have insurance cover for losses caused by the recent riots and looting - yet most short-term insurance policies include SASRIA, which covers these exact circumstances.
Civil unrest continues to shake South Africans’ lives and businesses, with hundreds of people arrested and dozens killed or injured in rioting that has swept the country. Many businesses have suffered financial loss due to the destruction of property, looting of goods and affected operating hours. This has left business owners wondering if their insurance policies will cover the losses.
“What many business owners don’t know is that SASRIA (the South African Special Risk Insurance Association) exists for this exact purpose,” says Bradley Du Chenne, CEO of insurance quote comparison platform, Hippo.co.za
. “SASRIA is a state-owned entity (SOE) that provides special cover to South African individuals and businesses against risks like civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism. In fact, South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that provides this insurance.”
does not do business directly with the public, it is included in most commercial and consumer short-term insurance policies. “That’s an important point,” says Du Chenne. “You may not have heard about SASRIA until this week, but that does not necessarily mean you don’t have SASRIA cover. If you have short-term insurance on your property or vehicle, or you have business insurance, you may have SASRIA cover included as part of your underlying insurance policy.”
SASRIA will cover theft and looting if it occurs due to acts of terrorism, public disorder, strikes, and both political and non-political riots. Business owners should note that there is still a requirement for the business to sustain material damage in order to claim for Business Interruption. For example, there will be no Business Interruption claim if a business closes in anticipation of a riot. Neither the underlying insurance policy nor the attached SASRIA policy will cover this peril. If there is material damage, the claim and any subsequent damage will be covered. For example, should your business property be damaged, and you rent property whilst repairs are underway, the cost of rent will also be covered under the Business Interruption claim.
“Speak to your insurer,” says Du Chenne. “All the insurance companies on the Hippo.co.za
platform offer SASRIA cover, but you should still check that it was selected when you agreed to the underlying policy. An insurer may not automatically include it with their car, buildings, home contents or business insurance, so you would have to request it when you take out the policy.”Hippo.co.za
’s insurance partners are committed to assisting all affected customers and businesses by providing the support and information they need in submitting SASRIA claims. SASRIA itself has also assured the public that it is able to honour claims based on the cover a customer or business has in place.
“If you have SASRIA cover, you should submit your claim as you normally would with your insurer, who will then hand it over to SASRIA for processing. If you do not have this cover, be sure to include it as soon as you can. Take note that claims will only be valid if the cover was activated before the incident occurred,” Du Chenne concludes.