The South African government announced a national lockdown in March this year. In the past six months, those severe restrictions have slowly eased and the country has now entered level 1. But, regardless of the level of lockdown, what has not stopped is life – or life events – and the subsequent insurance claims.
With the pandemic and government restrictions having an effect on the claims process, it’s important for clients to consider the below when making a claim during lockdown.
During the more stringent and disruptive restrictions of levels 5 and 4, many cash-strapped individuals and businesses sought premium relief by reducing or downscaling their insurance cover. With certain risks lowered because of lockdown, some of the most common changes to insurance policies included:
- Vehicle: Comprehensive changed to third-party insurance
- Theft: Lower limit selected
- Money: Cover reduced or cancelled
- All Risk: Cover for items cancelled
Now that restrictions have eased and more people are going into the office, their focus has shifted back to earning an income, while changes made to insurance policies have been forgotten. It’s essential that all insurance policies are reviewed to ensure that all aspects of risk are correctly addressed and that you are adequately covered. The revised policies must cater for business and personal environments that have changed.
Regulations and protocols
Because of COVID-19, the government has implemented restrictions on businesses that could impact the claims process. For example, there would likely be disruptions in the delivery of services where third-party suppliers (or their suppliers) are in industries hard hit by the pandemic. Similarly, with work-from-home policies and reduced staff numbers, you will likely not have the same claims experience that you would in a normal circumstance.
With staff shortages and government restrictions impacting operations, insurance clients should expect delays in service. Whether it’s the availability of stock or access to an assessor or a contractor, backlogs are to be expected and clients should speak to their insurance advisor about their options. For example, if you need to take your car in for repairs and your policy includes car hire for 30 days, this may not be sufficient if there are delays. For common claims like this, speak to your advisor about increasing the hire period, so you are not left without a vehicle.
Preparing your claim
To ensure that the claims process runs as smoothly and quickly as possible, have all the necessary information available regarding the circumstances of the loss, quantum of potential damages, evidence of ownership, necessary photographs, relevant documents and driver’s licence, etc.
While lockdown has reduced some risks, others are still relevant, which is why it’s important that you not wait until you claim, to see the gaps in your cover. Speak to your insurance advisor about reassessing your risk exposure to ensure that you are adequately covered.
For more information or advice, speak to Indwe today on 0860 13 13 14 or visit www.indwe.co.za.
Indwe is an authorised Financial Services Provider. FSP: 3425