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Santam, South Africa’s largest short-term insurer, has paid out, R870-million, nearly all of its R1-billion interim relief funds, in just over three weeks to the hospitality, leisure and non-essential retail services industries.
Interim relief payments have since August 5 been made to more than 2 000 businesses. The individual amounts paid range from R25 000 to R1.5-million. Two weeks ago Santam had already paid R506 million of the R1-billion, to qualifying policyholders. To date 2092 policyholders in the small and medium business sector have benefitted from the relief payments.
The month-long period provided for policyholders who are eligible for the interim relief payments to submit documentation ends on Friday, 28 August 2020.
Lizé Lambrechts, the Santam Group CEO, said the rate of payments to date suggests that the full amount of R1-billion allocated for interim relief will be paid out. The average time from receipt of documentation to payment is less than five days.
“These relief payments are being made to some of the most vulnerable small and medium-sized policyholders who have been worst impacted by the lockdown,” she said.
The relief payments are the outcome of Santam’s proposal to the regulators to help policyholders who have claimed for losses during the COVID-19 period, while awaiting the outcome of the legal process to determine the interpretation of Contingent Business Interruption (CBI) cover on their policies.
Santam has made relief payments to qualifying policyholders who have the CBI extension in their policy cover with the company. The relief payments equate to 70% of two months’ value of the sum insured for Santam’s policyholders in the hospitality, leisure and non-essential retail services industries. The two months are reflective of the period from late March until about May, when most businesses were restricted from trading due to the Level 4 and 5 lockdown alert in the country.
Lambrechts said the company continues to receive positive responses from both intermediaries and policyholders about the interim relief payments.
“It is evident from these positive responses that the relief payments are making tangible differences to small and medium-sized businesses. Recent feedback also suggests that businesses are starting to turn to their recovery plans as South Africans begin travelling for leisure purposes under Level 2 of lockdown restrictions,” she added.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic the Santam Group announced an initial R400-million in relief efforts for policyholders, intermediaries, and suppliers, including a contribution to the Solidarity Fund. To date the Santam Group has contributed R1, 4 billion to COVID-19 relief efforts.
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