Angry SAs speak: Shame on you, Santam. All Saffers should boycott!

One of the many innocent victims of Covid-19 is the South African restaurant and hospitality industry. Virus containment measures have taken a massive toll on small businesses, and for several months now business owners have been having it out with short-term insurers over business interruption payouts. Santam, Guardrisk and other big companies – including global insurers – have been refusing to cover claims for the loss of revenue caused by government-enforced closures.

At first, Santam agreed to pay out business relief to some of its policyholders, but it refused to pay out for business interruption claims linked to Covid-19.

After a lengthy legal battle and a R2bn victory, three insurers – including Santam – are finally paying up. However, Santam has only offered to pay up to three months of business interruption cover, which is not what was agreed when many of its clients signed up for insurance. 

Read also: Santam begins processing rejected business interruption claims, will appeal Ma-Afrika ruling

In a recent BizNews interview, small business owner Meg Fargher of Budmarsh Country Lodge in Magaliesberg, explained how Santam has ducked and dived on paying out for business interruption cover. It’s taking a huge toll on her business as she has to carry on paying her business interruption cover to Santam – without a steady income – or she will automatically lose the right to claim the insurance.

“We had business interruption insurance and one of the extensions was specifically for contagious disease, within a 50km radius of your premises. Well, thank goodness. We’ve got this very specific contagious disease cover. We phoned our broker who said, ‘we’re so relieved you’ve actually got this extension, you guys are going to be fine’. We spoke to someone at Santam who said, ‘just give us the weekend, we’ll have it all sorted’.

We actually felt quite safe. So after the Easter weekend, they came back and said ‘no, we’re not going to pay you out’. The gist of the email was, ‘if you don’t like our decisions, sue us in a court of law’.

I hope that South Africans don’t forget that Santam has not risen to the occasion. It’s been a seven-month runaround. We are still waiting for Santam to honour the business interruption claim and of course, they’re waiting for more and more of us to fall. Then they don’t have to pay out.”

BizNews readers are furious, calling for Santam to honour its side of the contract and for South Africans to boycott the insurer.

“No umbrella for SANTAM policy holders. It’s a hoax. Umbrella for sunshine days and no umbrella or cover for rainy days. Pending the court outcome perhaps SA consumers and business should consider boycotting SANTAM and move to competitors,” comments

Santam Facebook comment

Santam Facebook comment

South Africans need to stand together and put Santam out of business. They won’t support their paying customers in their most hectic time of need, then we cannot support them. If anyone has a Santam policy of any sort they should cancel it and find another provider. Teach them a lesson that no other insurance company will ever forget.”

Read also: Guardrisk & Hollard pay up for business interruption, Santam refuses to pay claims – ICA

andrewa had the following to say:

SANTAM: ‘Insurance good and proper.’

Andrewa: ‘Yeah, Right.’

When it comes to insurance, if you fool me once, shame on you. But if you think you are going to fool anyone with even two functioning brain cells, twice, you are an idiot. Small claims court worked for me, thank goodness, so ‘see you in court’ didn’t work out so well for the big legal guns as they aren’t allowed as it wasn’t a large claim. So never again, Santam!

This should be an industry built on trust. You should be confident that, if you honour your side of the contract by paying your premiums, the insurers can be trusted to honour their side. As we are seeing with this scandal, and have been seeing for years and years, this is one of the most untrustworthy of all industries. Their greedy and grasping keenness to take your premiums is matched only by their keenness to find absurd reasons not to pay out when you claim. The slogan ‘insurance good and proper’ makes me want to throw up in my mouth. It should be ‘insurance poor and dodgy.’ This scandal has finally showed us that this industry is not to be trusted, and I hope it results in them losing billions as people decide that it’s simply not worth it to trust these pelagic denizens of the deep.”

Santam Facebook comment

Santam Facebook comment

What is your view of Santam’s behaviour? Share your thoughts with us below. 

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