By Angelique Ruzicka, editor, Justmoney
Standard Insurance Limited has registered 531 claims with a value of about R11.2m since the 5.5 magnitude earthquake, with an epicentre near Orkney in North West Province, shook the country on 5 August.
“Over the last couple of weeks, the bank has instituted its ‘catastrophe plan’ to assess and assist customers who suffered damage to homes and businesses which varied from structural cracks in buildings, through to broken windows and collapsed ceilings,” said Johan van Greuning, head of Standard Insurance Limited.
“In addition to initiating the emergency plan, which is designed to cope with a large inflow of simultaneous claims, because the earthquake was induced through ‘natural’ events, the excess payable was pegged at R750 on all claims.”
“In accordance with our policy, smaller claims and minor structural damage were settled as quickly as possible to minimise customer inconvenience. Where it appeared that damage was more serious, assessors were sent to personally assist customers.” All claims have been paid in accordance with the normal terms of Standard Insurance Limited policies, which does cover customers for earthquake damage, regardless of whether the event is of geological or natural causes or even triggered by mining activity.
“We are confident that, bar a few exceptions where damage may have been severe, all claims to date have been attended to. Assessing and assisting our customers as quickly as possible has been a key priority from Standard Bank over the past few weeks.
We encourage our customers to please contact us should they have any queries or claims that still need to be settled,” concluded van Greuning.
Absa idirect customers’ policy wording won’t change
A statement from Absa, following Justmoney’s research into earthquake damage resulting from mining activity was published, stated: “It is clear from the JustMoney research that you have used the policy wording from Absa idirect, a direct insurance company aimed at customers that prefer dealing directly with the insurer. Currently a very small percentage of idirect customers have selected home owner’s cover and that this book largely comprises motor cover because of its niche focus from a product perspective. Nonetheless, idirect has received seven claims to date in comparison to the approximate 1100 of Absa Insurance Company. We can confirm that none of the idirect claims have been rejected and two have already been settled. The reason for this is that there is no undisputed evidence available that the tremors were caused by mining activities. We are fully committed to ensuring that our customers affected by the tremors are settled in the quickest possible time."
However, Absa are not going to change their policy wording: “The current policy wording of the Absa idirect product will not be reviewed at this stage because it adheres to the pricing and customer information guidelines for the market,” added Absa in the statement.