One of the questions that has frequently been raised following the unprecedented period of violence and looting which KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have recently suffered is whether or not insurance companies will provide cover to individuals and companies who have suffered damages, and if not, whether they have any other avenues to attempt to recoup their losses. It is in the context of such question that many have heard the term “SASRIA” for the first time. In this article we aim to provide a basic overview of what SASRIA is, and what cover it provides.
As a general rule in South Africa our insurers have excluded from the cover which they offer damages suffered as a result of events which are motivated by:
- Political; and/or
- Social unrest.
This exclusion is based on the fact that due to our history in South Africa, insurers are simply not prepared to accept the risk of providing cover associated with such events. This exclusion has created a vacuum which was required to be filled and is where SASRIA comes in.
SASRIA, which is a state-owned organization, refers to the South African Special Risks Association cover, describes itself as:
“the only non-life insurer that provides special risk cover to all individuals and businesses that own assets in South Africa, as well as government entities. This is unique cover against risks such as civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism, making South Africa one of the few countries in the world that provide this insurance.”
SASRIA therefore aims to provide cover for damages associated with extraordinary or unusual circumstances, and for which regular insurance companies are not prepared to assume risk.
Unfortunately, SASRIA cover is not automatically included in all insurance policies, and in order to determine whether or not the individual or company has such cover, regard must be had to their insurance policy. Whilst it is possible to obtain SASRIA cover directly, the more common approach is that a standard insurer will include such cover in a client’s policy, and the SASRIA premium will then be paid by the insurer to SASRIA from the premium which they receive from the client.
If you have suffered damages as a result of the recent unrest in the country, we suggest that you look closely at your insurance policy in order to determine whether or not you are covered for such event, and thereafter deal with your insurer directly who will assist you with lodging your SASRIA claim.
Article by David Campbell