Riots and strikes: who is liable?

Incidents of civil unrest have been on the rise in South Africa over the past year. Violent protests have been reported across the country; from the unrest in Hammanskraal in Pretoria on June 201, to the protests leading to the closing of the N2 near Cape Town International Airport on June 292.

An element that these incidents have in common is that they are all politically driven by members of the public, who wish to express their dissatisfaction with the various government departments ahead of the 2016 Municipal Elections taking place on 3 August 2016.

Another common aspect of these protests is that they involve theft and damage to property. Shop owners suffered losses due to looting and motorists incurred damages to their vehicles during the unrest in Hammanskraal, and a bus was burnt and motorists robbed during the protest action on the N2 in Cape Town.

The question is: who is liable for the damages resulting from political unrest?

“The South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) is the only South African insurer that covers you for loss or damage to insured property as a direct result of civil unrest, including rioting, strike action and public disorder,”says Derek Wilson, Head of leading financial and insurance online comparison website, Hippo.co.za. “Fortunately for those who have insurance, this cover can be included in their existing insurance policy.”

SASRIA honoured 140 claims totaling R92-million in damages during the #FeesMustFall protests earlier this year, and have reported an average increase of 56% in both the frequency and severity of claims submitted as a result of protest action in the last four years3.

“Leading up to the elections in August, we are very likely see more and more incidents of protest action, and we encourage South Africans to ensure that they have the necessary cover in case of any damages to their business or personal property,” concludes Wilson. “Hippo.co.za provides a free-to-use service to compare financial products such as Car Insurance, Household Insurance, Life Insurance, Funeral Cover, Motor Warranties and more. Millions of South Africans use the Hippo Web site each year to compare whether they are getting the best deal.”

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