🔒 The Editor’s Desk: Was lockdown a mistake (and should insurers pay for it)?

The decision to impose lockdown has come in for a lot of criticism these days, especially as the economic costs of the lockdown continue to mount (along with the pandemic). In this episode, BizNews editor Jackie Cameron and I discuss the rationale behind lockdown, looking at the accuracy of Covid-19 predictions and the lingering effects of the virus. We ask whether lockdown was the right call or a tragic error. We also take a look at the hottest story of the week – business interruption insurance. As hundreds of South African businesses try to claim for their losses due to Covid-19 closures, insurers have been trying to get themselves off the hook. We look at what insurers are saying, what the courts are saying, and what is likely to happen to these claims. – Felicity Duncan

Around the world, governments imposed lockdowns in March or April seeking to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and protect citizens from Covid-19, the disease the virus causes. Today, we know a lot more about Covid-19, including the fact that its effects can linger long after recovery. What is presently the subject of fierce debate is whether lockdowns were a mistake. Some feel strongly that the economic damage caused by lockdowns far outweighs any benefits. Others point out that it’s impossible to know what the country would look like had there been no lockdowns.

In this episode, Felicity Duncan and BizNews editor Jackie Cameron wade into the debate, looking at the arguments for and against lockdown and asking how best to weigh them up.

They also tackle a hot topic – business interruption insurance, or more specifically, the fate of Covid-19-related claims made against business interruption insurance policies.

Some insurers in SA (and elsewhere in the world) have rejected Covid-19 interruption claims, citing the fine print of their contracts. However, the regulator and the courts have appeared to side with businesses who want their payouts – the FSCA, for example, released a strongly worded statement supporting claimants. In this episode, Jackie and Felicity discuss the positions of businesses and insurers and their respective merits – and ask what long-term reputational damage slow-to-pay insurers may be courting with their refusal to help clients.

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