Gondwana and Hollard head back to court

08 March 2021 | Justice



Gondwana Collection Namibia and Hollard Insurance Namibia will face each other again in court on 31 March after Gondwana last week brought an urgent application over client confidentiality.

Gondwana was successful last Wednesday in demanding that Vision Africa, which was commissioned by Hollard, immediately stop a survey that involves asking Gondwana's customers why they cancelled bookings.

Gondwana says it did not know about the survey.

Gondwana accused Hollard and Vision Africa of using Gondwana guests' confidential personal information to conduct the survey.

The urgent application was removed from the court roll after Hollard agreed to stop the survey.

Gondwana said in a statement on Friday that the new application was related to the urgent application, but was not affected by its removal from the court roll

“Gondwana Collection Namibia turned to the High Court of Namibia to force the short-term insurer, Hollard, to honour its agreed commitments under their business interruption claim,” the company said.

Privacy laws

It said the action stemmed from insured losses that the company suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak and the government response to it.

Hollard's head of corporate communication, Sam Kauapirura, said the assessment process followed by insurers for coronavirus-related business interruption claims has been in the public spotlight, with a particular focus on the rights of an insurer to investigate the client's claim without compromising the country's privacy laws.

“Hollard recognises the severe economic damage as well as the fear, pain and heartache experienced by so many Namibians caused by national and international lockdown regulations to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and particularly the devastating effect on smaller businesses.

This is why we are taking our responsibility to pay all valid claims and honour our obligations in terms of the policy contract very seriously,” he said.

Kauapirura said Hollard would never disclose the confidential contractual details of any one of its more than 300 000 policyholders.

Covid claims

He said the assessment of any insurance claim requires close collaboration between the insurer and the insured. As is standard practice in the industry, the insurer may request additional information from the claimant to assist in assessing and validating the claim.

“We always attempt to work closely with the claimant in this process, as is the case with a claim from a prominent tourism-sector client (Gondwana) that will soon be heard before the Namibian High Court. Additionally, the process enjoyed comprehensive legal oversight to ensure we comply with privacy laws, without prejudice to the insurers' rights to investigate the claim.”

Kauapirura said it is in the interest of a claimant to provide the required information.

“Where this information is not provided, or the facts contained in the claim are in dispute, it delays the accurate assessment of the claim.”

Kauapirura said Hollard believes it has complied with both the letter and spirit of the law in all current business interruption claims relating to the coronavirus pandemic.