The COVID-19 pandemic is the largest disaster to hit the insurance history, by far exceeding any natural catastrophe risks to date. The Unit for Insurance Law and Governance in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, of which Professor Birgit Kuschke is one of the Directors, is providing crucial professional advice to policyholders, intermediaries and insurers on business interruption claims, lack of access claims and reinsurance.
The Unit is throughout concerned about the solvency of the short-term insurers and is attempting to facilitate settlement agreements between insurers and policyholders. The Unit is also reporting to international bodies on the national regulations, statistics and development within the country, and on matters concerning transnational cover and potential of risk pooling and public-private partnerships to assist the industry in this time.
Kuschke has been involved in a variety of radio interviews regarding the impact of COVID-19 as a force majeure event, firstly on its impact on lease agreements, and then on the impact of COVID-19 on business interruption insurance claims. In a radio interview on 22 June 2020 she conducted a Radio 702 interview on explaining the effect of the new Directive issued by the Financial Services Conduct Authority on business interruption cover. She reported on 14 July on the judgment in the case of Café Chameleon v Guardrisk that was heard in the Western Cape High Court.
Kuschke has been a member of the International Association for Insurance Law since 1998, and has been involved in various research projects relating to the insurance risks, insurance regulation and practice. She currently serves as a Councillor on the Presidential Council of the International Association for Insurance Law, and is a member of two working groups within the Association. She has since 2014 been a Principal Drafting Member of the international project on the drafting of universal Principles of Reinsurance Law (PRICL). Kuschke is also a corresponding member of the project on Principles of European Insurance contract law (PEICL).
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