With all the prominence given to this matter, it is difficult to believe that some 40% of Santam’s qualifying clients have yet to submit their claims documentation.
Santam issued another appeal to clients with CBI policies, who previously indicated they would claim, to submit formulated claims and supporting documentation, so that these can be finalised and settled.
The policy wording requires that the statement of particulars of a claim be formulated and submitted within thirty (30) days of the end of the relevant period stipulating the length of cover (indemnity period). This deadline has been extended on a number of occasions and the final one is 31 August 2021.
Santam has made a financial provision of R3-billion for net CBI claims, and assures clients that it is committed to paying all valid claims as soon as possible. However, the responsibility of submitting a claim lies with the policyholder and the company is not able to process such until all relevant documentation is submitted.
“We therefore urge those clients who previously indicated that they would claim against their CBI policies to furnish us with the relevant claims information that will enable us to conclude this process speedily,” Lambrechts added.
Santam has since the beginning of 2021 recruited an additional forty (40) loss adjusters to expedite the processing of claims and implemented a simplified fast-track CBI claims process for SMEs, that only requires completion of a two-page spreadsheet with supporting documentation that includes financial statements that would ordinarily be used for tax-filing purposes.
Santam has thus far paid R1,6-billion in CBI claims, including R600-million to policyholders by mid-July 2021 and R1-billion interim relief paid to 2 500 policy holders in August 2020.
“We are very concerned that there could be clients who are experiencing hardship but have not submitted information to enable the assessment and settlement of their claims. They effectively have a month to do so,” Lambrechts highlighted.
Social Unrest Claims – Sasria
Santam has confirmed that more than 95% of its policyholders have elected Sasria cover, which is only provided through the state-owned insurer. Like all other short-term insurers, Santam policies do not provide for this type of cover.
The Sasria cover plays a critical role in returning businesses to full functionality at such times. To date more than 1500 of its clients have indicated their intention to claim against their Sasria cover.
Santam is working closely with the industry body SAIA (South African Insurance Association) and Sasria to ensure that claims are settled promptly. To that end, the company has:
- Agreed an additional mandate with Sasria to process more claims on their behalf
- Configured a custom system set-up in order to facilitate these claims
- Activated its in-house catastrophe claims management protocols which were very effective in the settlement of claims during the 2017 Knysna fires disaster
- Set up a dedicated claims administration team with the sole focus of processing these claims
- Seconded internal assessor resources to ground-zero (KZN and Gauteng) to manage and coordinate field operations and
- Secured additional external assessors and loss adjusters to deal with the high volumes.
Whilst we were critical of non-life insurers about their handling of claims arising from the pandemic, much has been done since to repair the damage to the industry’s image. We trust that the “good” news will get as much exposure in the media as did the bad press.