SWVG Inc. Leads Client to a Resounding Victory against its Insurers on Appeal

On 2 July 2020, SWVG Inc. led prominent commodities trader, Anabella Resources CC, to a resounding victory amidst a legal battle with their insurers.

Briefly, Anabella was the subject of an armed robbery one fateful morning during January 2017 where an employee of Anabella, Mr. Hadife was approached just outside of his home by three men who threatened him with a firearm, forcefully removed him from his vehicle, placed him in their vehicle and drove to an unknown destination where they held him captive. They threatened to kill Mr. Hadife unless he contacted another member of Anabella’s staff via WhatsApp to demand that the monies held in the Anabella safe be delivered to a man they would find waiting in the Anabella parking lot in a BMW 5 Series motor vehicle.

Given that it was an acceptable practice for cash to be delivered to Anabella’s traders in this manner, the employee stationed at Anabella’s offices duly removed the monies from the safe and placed in the boot of the BMW 5 Series vehicle that was waiting there. Only upon Mr Hadife’s release and return, it become apparent that the monies had been stolen in an elaborate, action-packed robbery.

Following the event, Anabella duly submitted a claim to its’ insurers describing the event as a ‘hijack / kidnap / ransom’. To Anabella’s dismay, the claim was rejected by the insurers on the basis that the insurance policy did not cover kidnapping or ransom.

The court a quo held that the event was not covered by the insurance policy due to the fact that inter alia no armed robbery took place at Anabella’s actual premises (Mr. Hadife conversed with his fellow employee via Whatsapp from a vehicle at an unknown location).

Pursuant to a full-bench appeal, the appeal court stated that a strict reading of the wording of the insurance policy was incorrect, as an event could take place at the premises or it could incorporate a series of events, some of which occurred on the premises and some of which did not. Most notably, the court held that the obligation to give certainty to the risks that insurers wish to exclude from their policy lies with the insurer. Absent such certainty, the provisions of an insurance policy will be interpreted in favour of the insured.

Set against the backdrop of this landmark judgment, SWVG Inc. are well equipped to deal with any of your insurance claims including business interruption.

Click here to read the full judgment on SAFLII

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