As the Competition Commission begins sifting through information to build a case against eight of SA’s top insurers that it claims could be involved in price collusion, Werksmans Attorneys’ Ahmore Burger-Smidt has warned of a potential drawn-out legal dispute between the parties over the seizure of documents.

A Business Day report says Sanlam, Discovery, Hollard, Old Mutual, Momentum Metropolitan, Bidvest Life, Professional Provident Society and BrightRock have said they will co-operate with the investigation after their offices were subjected to search-and-seizure operations by the competition watchdog last week.

‘The fact that they raided these companies doesn’t itself mean that these companies are guilty of anything,’ said Burger-Smidt.

‘If the commission has all the evidence to demonstrate that these companies are guilty, there would not have been any reason to conduct a dawn raid. Clearly, it needs more evidence to support the alleged offence.’

Any entity that is subjected to a dawn raid would consider whether the documents the commission seized were in fact provided for or legitimately seized in terms of the issued search warrant and whether the commission was entitled to all the information it seized, Burger-Smidt said.

Full Business Day report