Sasria claims from July unrest hit R32 billion

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People flee from police as they carry goods while looting and vandalising the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, East of Johannesburg.
People flee from police as they carry goods while looting and vandalising the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, East of Johannesburg.
Phill Magakoe / AFP
  • Sasria has received a total of 14 051 claims amounting to R32 billion from entities affected by the July riots.
  • The company aims to pay up to 80% of the claims by March 2022.
  • The insurer says the volume of claims has also led to a spike in fraud and inflation of claims.

The insurance claims by over 14 000 businesses affected by the July lootings stand at R32 billion, with R12.6 billion paid out so far, the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria) said on Tuesday.

The amount is based on a total of 14 051 claims that have been filed.

The state-owned short-term risk insurer has recently been allocated an additional R11 billion to allow it to continue settling business claims from the riots. The settlement of claims from the deadly riots that saw thousands of businesses looted in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng would not be finished until next year, and the company aims to pay out 80% of claims of up to R60 million by March 2022.

"The realistic overall settlement of the R32 billion would include the rebuilding of infrastructure, and that would take up to 18 months," said Fareedah Benjamin, Sasria's executive manager for operations.

A total of 130 claims have so far been rejected due to various policy management issues, such as non-payment of premiums.

Managing director Cedric Masondo stated that a large number of claims were related to fire, heavy commercial vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and business interruption.

"Most claims were received in the under-R1 million band, standing at 12 050, with a total claim value of just over R2.259 billion," said Masondo.

The company is the only insurer that provides cover against risks such as civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism.

The July unrest saw cargo trucks torched, and shops looted by mobs, in a burst of unrest sparked by the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma. The province of KwaZulu-Natal later put the economic cost of the unrest at R20 billion and the impact on national GDP estimated was estimated to be around R50 billion.

Masondo said Sasria had seen an increase in the amount of interest shown by operators on the role of the company since the outbreak of the largest unrest since 1994. The July events also led to a spike in incidents of fraud and the inflation of claims.

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