Sarah-Jane Meyer • Apr 6, 2020

Dealing with insurance claims during the national Covid-19 lock down. In addition to the onerous lock down restrictions, many homeowners still have to deal with other serious issues, such as burst geysers and burst water pipes. As with many other facets of life, insurance claims arising during the lock down need to be dealt with taking into account the government stipulations. Insurance firms around the country understand the seriousness of Covid 19 and are rewriting their processes to ensure their clients are still receiving the service they have come to expect. Absa Insurance Company, for example, has prepared the necessary business continuity plans, to assist customers if insured events occur. An Absa spokesperson said: “We are committed to the safety and well-being of our employees, suppliers and customers. Accordingly, we have implemented our disaster management protocol in line with government issued practices. These include practising social distancing and cleanliness, the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitising.” How will insurers process claims? According to Bertus Visser, chief executive of distribution at PSG Insure, you should be able to put a claim in over the phone or email but might not have the same claims experience as you would in normal circumstances. “Keep in mind that not all claims can be dealt with remotely or resolved entirely in this manner. Some product providers will do digital assessments and claims will be categorised as urgent or non-urgent. They might require photos showing any damage to process digital assessments.” Even if you don’t think your claim is urgent, Visser says it’s best to notify your insurer straight away. There will be a record of when you let them know, so that the claim can be dealt with once the lock down lifts. Absa’s digital channels are available for customers who need to report claims or have questions answered during the lock down. Claims can be registered on Absa’s banking mobile app, online banking or They can also contact the call centre on 0860 100 876. However, to adhere to social distancing practice the call centre is operating on minimal staff so callers may experience delays. Dealing with service providers at home during the lock down According to Government announcements made in respect of the lock down period, only certain services have been classified as essential. Services like electricity, water, gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance are deemed to be additional essential services. This enables plumbers, electricians to operate during this period. Absa’s supplier network members are able to attend to emergency claim repairs, including: • Geyser failure • Major plumbing failures • Major electrical failures • Major storm or fire damages to customer premises requiring emergency work, repairs or security services Absa Insurance asks customers to allow repairers onto their premises to deal with urgent claims or crisis failures due to insured events. Absa Insurance is conscious of customer concerns regarding the spread of the virus through social contact, and Absa Insurance repairers are aware of the necessity of implementing social distancing and good sanitary practices. Special precautions and regulations to adhere to Visser emphasises that you should not have anyone in your home during the lock down unless it is an emergency. In addition to remaining distanced from whoever enters in such an instance, you should also ask them to sanitise their hands before working on your property. • Wipe down all surfaces of the repair area as best you can before workmen arrive, and again afterwards. • Everyone should have masks and gloves on as a precaution, where possible. • You should also keep record of the incident in case there are any enquiries as to why the emergency visit took place. Update risk cover You may need to update all risk cover temporarily, so it’s best to speak to your insurer about what you might require. Your adviser is likely to be available on email and by phone to assist during the lock down. The revenue of many industries and sectors has been negatively affected. Some insurers have indicated that they are making specific provision for some clients or products. Check this with your insurer as part of your discussion. The rules may differ from one insurer to the next and for different product types, and any general enquiries you have on the extent of your cover should be addressed as soon as possible, says Visser. If the Covid-19 outbreak has taught us anything, it’s how quickly something can develop into a disaster. Ignoring any needed repairs at home, or putting off revising your insurance policy could cost you much more in the long run