Can Santam salvage its reputation? The jury is out

The Financial Services Conduct Authority has won a battle for many small- and medium-size businesses struggling to get insurers to pay for revenues lost through forced closures during the Covid-19 lockdown. It has persuaded some to agree to interim emergency relief to their policyholders, as a legal war between hospitality and leisure companies continues to play out in the courts.

Santam announced at the weekend that it is setting aside R1bn for some of its clients, with the caveat that its bosses continue to believe it is on firm legal footing in repudiating business insurance claims. It says it will pay 70% of two months’ value of the sum, with a minimum of R25,000 and maximum of R1.5m.

It’s a step in the right direction from Santam, which has looked like an evil corporate for using delay and other tactics to get out of paying its clients. But will this move be enough to polish up its image?

PS: Don’t miss your Monday treat. Chapter Two of the serialised audiobook of Anthony Butler’s superb biography on SA president Cyril Ramaphosa is now available. A new chapter will be published every Monday. Listen/download it here: https://iono.fm/e/897803.

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On a daily basis we talk to businesses that are facing their worst futures. Dreams are in tatters.  You are a star for reporting this story. – Sandra

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