Insurance Claims Africa (ICA) believes businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector are a step closer to having their claims resolved fairly as Santam abandons all targets of its intended appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, save for the length of the indemnity period.

On Tuesday 16 February, the Western Cape High Court will hear Santam’s application for leave to appeal against the Full Bench judgment upholding in all respects COVID-19 business interruption insurance claims by Ma-Afrika Hotels and Stellenbosch Kitchen.

Santam has made a number of material concessions in its court papers, including dropping its demand that Ma-Afrika’s COVID-19 claim be settled on a three-month take-it-or-leave-it basis. Last month, ICA asked Santam to consider converting its ‘full and final’ settlement offer to an interim payment of 3 months, leaving the balance of the 18-month policy to be dealt with after the SCA appeal.  Santam has agreed to do this.

Santam has also agreed to pay the full costs of the proceedings, and of its application for leave to appeal, including the costs of three counsel on Ma-Afrika’s side.

In addition Santam has agreed to include foreign guest income in the quantum calculation. For some of Santam’s policyholders, the exclusion of foreign guest income would have reduced their quantum by over 50%.

Ryan Woolley, CEO of Insurance Claims Africa, says, “While it’s taken a lot of pressure, time, money and effort to get here, we are extremely pleased that our claimants are closer to a fair and reasonable resolution to their Business Interruption claims.”

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