One insurance company is now offering cover against political violence, although premiums have yet to be announced. The Insurance and Pensions Commission recently granted Champions Insurance Company the nod to introduce the insurance cover. There was no insurance cover in Zimbabwe for loss of property as a result of political violence, even if the property was insured under the assets cover.

Champions Insurance underwriting and business development manager Ms Immaculate Musonza said last week that cover was for financial loss arising out of politically related actions.

“We are the only Zimbabwean cover holder for all political violence risk representing Lloyd’s in Zimbabwe and this cover is for areas that are not catered for by the assets insurance,” said Ms Musonza.

“The cover protects against losses by war, riots, civil disturbance, terrorism and looting.

“It means that any properties damaged as a result of those actions will be insured.

“The fact that our reinsurers have accepted to have this cover in Zimbabwe is actually a statement that Zimbabwe is not a high political risk because obviously no insurance company would want to invest in a country where the risk is high,” she said.

Ms Musonza said the adoption of the cover would also attract foreign investment since businesses would be insured in case of any eventualities.

“Political violence here can be managed because our police are quick to react, but there is still need to insure properties because riots can start anytime,” she said.

Ms Musonza said her company partners Lloyd’s of London and Mapfre Assistencia of Spain in insuring against damages caused by politically motivated violence.

She said Champions Insurance reached an agreement with Lloyd’s syndicates who would share Zimbabwe’s risk with Watkins, Canopius, Ironshore, Hiscox, Hardy and Channel Syndicate.

Ms Musonza said IPEC recently approved the cover that caters for immovable property, plant and machinery and vehicles.

Zimbabwe became the 23rd African country to adopt the policy, with regional countries South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Madagascar and Mozambique already offering it.

Ms Musonza said the cover targeted corporates, while individuals were also welcome as long as they proved that the property was theirs.

Politically motivated arson attacks became a common feature in Zimbabwe over the past few years.

This led to serious losses after buildings and properties were burnt down.

MDC-T youths were implicated in various politically motivated petrol bombings that targeted individuals’ houses and police stations ahead of the March 2008 harmonised elections

Early this year, suspected MDC-T activists allegedly petrol bombed the Zanu-PF provincial offices in Gweru, shattering windowpanes.

Timber worth more than US$600 000 was also burnt down at Zanu-PF’s Joshua Nkomo district offices in Matapi in Mbare in a suspected arson attack by MDC-T activists.

There were also suspected arson attacks at Masvingo and Chiredzi Magistrates’ courts that left court records and office property destroyed.

Property worth thousands of dollars was looted last year in Harare at Gulf Complex after some youths went on a rampage targeting foreign-owned shops.