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Make sure you’re covered when civil unrest breaks out

Jason Mellow, Head of MiWay Business Insurance

The widespread protests in parts of South Africa alarmed South African citizens and business owners alike, who were concerned about their risk of crippling financial losses as a result. For peace of mind in challenging times such as these, it is important to have the right insurance cover in place.

What insurance covers damage due to political unrest?

While most car, household and business insurance cover will protect you against damage and loss from natural and criminal causes, damage and losses caused by politically-motivated unrest is typically excluded from normal cover. In times of heightened political unrest, such as the protests currently sweeping the country, Sasria cover is an important measure to reduce your risks.[i]

Sasria (South African Special Risks Insurance Association) is a state-owned company that provides special risk cover for individuals and businesses against losses caused as a result of civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism. This cover, custom designed to insure assets against loss or damage caused during politically-motivated unrest, is not provided directly to the public, but instead handled via insurers. MiWay and other Sasria partners in the value chain handle the day-to-day administration of Sasria’s business and collect premiums on their behalf, which means that Sasria’s customer base is closely linked to the distribution channels of their partners.

Sasria covers loss or damage caused to property, vehicles, equipment, assets, goods in transit and business premises during public disorder, terrorism or rioting, including damage caused by acts carried out by law enforcement in response to these events.

However, it is important to note that general looting or theft which cannot be linked to events of this nature, is not covered under the terms of Sasria insurance, in addition to any economic fallout linked to industrial action like go-slows.

How do I know whether I am covered?

As a MiWay client, if you have Sasria noted on your Coversheet, you are automatically covered in South Africa for loss or damage caused by:

  • any act or attempt calculated or directed to:
    • overthrow or influence the government, or any provincial, local or tribal authority with force, or by means of fear, terrorism or violence;
    • bring about loss or damage in order to further any political aim, objective or cause, or to bring about any social or economic change, or in protest against the government, or any provincial, local or tribal authority, or for the purpose of inspiring fear in the public;
    • bring about any riot, strike or public disorder
  • the act of any lawfully established authority in controlling, preventing, suppressing or in any other way dealing with any occurrence referred to above.

However, it is important to check your insurance policy document to check whether Sasria cover is included.  

What will I not be covered for?

You will however not be covered for any consequential loss or damage, or loss or damage caused or contributed to by:          

  • looting and theft, unless caused by any of the covered events mentioned above    
  • my property being dispossessed or confiscated by any lawfully established authority                           
  • the stopping or deliberate slowing down of work
  • any act of terrorism involving:
    •  the threat of or actual use of any nuclear weapon or device
    • the threat of or actual use or release of any chemical or biological agent

How to claim

As with the normal claims process, your first step would be to approach your nearest police station, where you will need to get a case number before registering your claim with your insurer. This can then be lodged simply via either online self-service, a dedicated mobile app, e-mail or telephonically, depending on your insurance provider. Your claim will then be validated via normal processes and will be handled by your insurer, with Sasria, on your behalf.

MiWay is a licensed non-life insurer and Financial Services Provider (FSP 33970).

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