The state of Political Violence & Terrorism Insurance: A southern African view

The last couple of months’ activities such as the riots and looting that befell South Africa in July 2021, a series of ongoing protests in Eswatini against the monarchy and for democratisation which began in late June 2021, Lesotho political crisis which broke out in April 2021 with issues around then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, ongoing conflict in Mozambique  as well as the fact that next year, 2023, is general elections year for some countries in the southern African region including Zimbabwe and DRC has been catalysts for the increased demand in political violence and terrorism insurance cover (PVT) in the region.

State of the markets

In South Africa, PVT market has hardened in the past year due to the loss activities recorded particularly following the July 2021 riots and looting in Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng. The state-owned South African Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria), the only political riot insurer, has amended its cover and limited its coverage to only R500 million. Previously, Sasria extended its primary R500 million loss limit to allow for clients to purchase Excess of Loss cover up to a combined limit of R1 billion above the primary coupon (R1.5 billion combined) with regards to Material Damage, Standing Charges/Working Expenses, and Contract Works. Further, Sasria has increased its coupon rates by more that 60% on the fire classes. Other classes such as motor have seen increases in excess of 1 000%.

In Mozambique and Eswatini, although underwriters are still deploying capacity, they have become more selective on the geography and/ or industries that they are willing to write. In Mozambique for instance, most underwriters are not willing to write risks located in the northern part of the country as it is deemed a hotspot. In Eswatini, it has become difficult to find cover for industries such as shopping malls, banks, government controlled entities and municipalities. This is because these industries tend to be targets when violence erupts. Although Eswatini demonstrations have subsided, the tensions remain as underlying matters remain unresolved.

Insureds in countries that are bordering and much linked with South Africa such as Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe who frequently travel to South Africa by road as well as businesses with incidental property in South Africa are looking at their in-country insurers to provide some form of PVT cover as they are seeing the exposure. Although there is interest in the cover as evidenced by increase enquires and quote requests, the uptake is still limited.

Past experience has shown that there is a general increase in the demand and purchase of PVT cover in countries holding general elections. Although the election dates for Zimbabwe and DRC have not yet been officially announced, Zimbabwe’s general elections are normally held in March and that of DRC in May. It is expected that these two countries will swing into election mode in the next three to four months, thus triggering insured’s demand for PVT cover.

The Opportunity

Maksure Risk Solutions, an Afroglobal insurance and reinsurance broker has been working with a number of insurers and reinsurers in the southern African region for the last decade to provide PVT cover.

There has been a sharp increase in demand for PVT cover from South African personal and commercial clients following the riots and looting that occurred in July 2021. Some commercial clients are looking at increasing their cover limit, however, this comes at a point in time where Sasria has limited their loss limit to R500 million and no longer providing riot wrap – excess of loss cover above R500 million, Maksure has been assisting a number of clients by placing the required cover on a facultative basis into Lloyds of London and other company markets in UK and USA. Capacity for certain industries is available in abundance while capacity for other industries is in short supply.

There is an opportunity for insurance brokers in Namibia to aggressively market NASRIA cover to their clients while evidence of the need to have PVT cover is still fresh in potential clients minds (resulting from South Africa events). NASRIA has been in existence since 1987, however its penetration has been low since there has been not much loss exposures in Namibia.

The bigger opportunity in the region for countries other than South Africa and Namibia (where SASRIA and NASRIA operate respectively) is that of bundling PVT cover into personal and commercial policies. This will increase scale and the take up rate for PVT while managing the perennial challenge of the cyclical nature of PVT where demand is much evidenced soon after loss events or in election periods.

Maksure has a PVT binder that cover the four main cover types namely;

  • Terrorism and Sabotage (S&T);
  • Strike, Riot and Civil Commotion (SRCC);
  • Political Violence;
  • War, including civil war.

The binder has a USD20 million capacity any one location.

The Maksure Solution

Maksure Risk Solutions has a huge footprint in southern Africa and understands the PVT requirements of the region built over the last decade of regional trading. Further, our UK based team has access into the Lloyds of London and company market support to provide unmatched expertise and quality capacity to cover the PVT exposure for the region. The combination of local operations in the southern African region while operating in UK open market as well as at Lloyds allows us to provide best of both worlds in the PVT class of business that is understanding of the local matters while operating in the same space with international capacity providers.

For more information or quote requests on political violence and terrorism cover, contact Vincent Gota on Tel +27 11 805 0086 or vincent@maksure.co.za or Email: info@maksure.co.za.

About Maksure Risk Solutions

Maksure Risk Solutions is an Afro-Global independent specialist insurance and reinsurance broker with business footprint in Africa, Asia, East & Western Europe, South America and the Caribbean. We provide innovative and tailor-made risk solutions in Insurance and Reinsurance as well as Risk Financing and Actuarial Consulting geared towards capital management and strengthening our client’s balance sheet. Maksure is also one of the major players in Captive Management (Establishment & Management) in South Africa, Mauritius, Bermuda and various other jurisdictions. We have access into the Lloyds of London with a deep understanding of African markets. Our global nature ensures that our clients access quality capacity as well as some of the world’s latest thinking and solutions.

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