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Claims body confident CT restaurant’s court victory will set precedent

Café Chameleon took its insurer - Guardrisk - to court for failing to pay out business interruption insurance claims linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Picture: 123rf

CAPE TOWN - Insurance Claims Africa, a body that assists with claims, believes a Cape Town eatery's recent court victory will set a precedent.

Café Chameleon took its insurer - Guardrisk - to court for failing to pay out business interruption insurance claims linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cover is intended to kick in in the event of something like a global pandemic. However insurers have been reluctant to pay, saying the damage was caused by government's lockdown, not the actual pandemic.

Western Cape High Court Judge Andre le Grange has ruled the insurer is liable for any losses Café Chameleon suffered since 27 March when the nationwide lockdown was implemented.

Guardrisk argued the restaurant’s loss was not covered under the infectious diseases extension clause in the policy as it was the lockdown causing the harm, not the infectious disease.

This is also the reasoning used by several insurers to reject business interruption insurance claims relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Le Grange has now ruled that restrictions to trade under the lockdown was the cause of the losses.

He found it was clear the lockdown was the result of a notifiable disease covered by the insurer.

The judge has also ordered Guardrisk to pay costs.

It's not yet clear whether Guardrisk will appeal the judgment.

Insurance Claim Africa is representing 500 businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors battling to get insurers to pay out business interruption claims.