For almost a year, the hospitality and tourism sector has been battling to secure business interruption insurance pay outs. With the support of Insurance Claims Africa (ICA), many of these fights have gone to the courts and progress has been made. At the start of the year, insurers like Santam and Guardrisk conceded that the Covid-19 pandemic is a justifiable cause for business interruption, as per the court’s rulings. Some, like Santam, are now only challenging the appeal period.

“We are greatly heartened that not only have the insurers finally accepted their liability and have committed to honour their customers’ claims, but that they are also keen to expedite the appeal process,” says Rosemary Anderson, National Chairperson of FEDHASA (Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa) (pictured). “While the time period of the cover continues to be a point of contention, we have come a long way from the days when insurers denied outright they carried any liability.”

“We are greatly heartened that not only have the insurers finally accepted their liability and have committed to honour their customers’ claims, but that they are also keen to expedite the appeal process.”

This week, Santam asked the Supreme Court for leave to appeal on the indemnity period. The legal precedent had set this at 18 months, while Santam has contended that the indemnity period for its policy extension is only three months.

READ: Business interruption insurance claims are – finally – being honoured

Anderson adds, “ICA has been pivotal in getting to the point where Santam has made important material concessions, such as dropping its demand that Ma-Afrika’s COVID-19 claim be settled on a three-month take-it-or-leave-it basis. We are grateful that Santam has also agreed to offer an interim payment of 3 months, leaving the balance of the 18-month policy to be dealt with after the SCA appeal this week in which judgement was reserved.”

Anderson thanked ICA for taking up this cause for the hospitality and tourism industry, adding, “It’s just so incredibly tragic that the closure of so many hospitality businesses could have been avoided had Insurers done the right thing from the start.”

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