Do we really need insurance?
Why I don't trust insurance companies
Back in the sixties, my father took out a policy with Norwich which was supposed to pay my mother some R300 per year for life on my fatherĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s death. My father died in 1974. My mother received payments for some years, but then these stopped. I found out that Norwich UK had left South Africa and their SA operations had been hived off to Fedsure. I had to threaten Fedsure with legal action and eventually they paid, backdated for the years they had not paid, with interest. Then payments again ceased. I investigated and found out the Fedsure had ceased to exist, some policies had been taken over by Metropolitan or whatever, then the assets had been transferred to Investec and finally ended up with Liberty (what a mess!), who donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t respond and are not paying. My mother is 77 years old, has medical problems and can sure use the money to pay for the eye injections she needs every three months to prevent blindness. Liberty just ignore my letters, faxes, e mails and telephone calls.
In 1992, I took out educational policies with Sanlam for my two daughters, to pay out when they reach 18 in order to fund, or at least partially fund, their tertiary education. When my eldest turned 18, payment was made with little fuss. It was very different when my youngest turned 18. She was by then living in the UK with her mother. Sanlam refused to pay out to me as instructed by my daughter (so that I in turn could pay out the funds to her UK bank account, exactly as was done with my eldest). Sanlam would not deal with me at all. They said I was merely the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“payerĂ˘â‚¬Âť. Their broker, now manager of the East London branch, one Taylor, tried to fobb me off by saying I was not understanding how insurance worked. I was just the payer and not the policy holder. Yes, the policy was in the name of my daughterĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s mother, my ex-wife (who had ceded the proceeds of the policy to my daughter). But I had paid the premiums all the years, it was so stated in the divorce order, I was the father and therefor a guardian and I also had a Power of Attorney to represent her. Still Sanlam refused. Many months later, they had not paid out. This caused a final rift in the relationship between my daughter and I. I still do not know if they ever paid out in terms of that policy to my daughter.
My bakkie was insured through Santam. I lent it to an employeeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s son to assist with his house move and he had an accident. I have a friend who is a panelbeater. I asked my broker if this friend could to do work. He was not on the Santam panel. I understood it was not a problem. All the paperwork was done. Six months after the repairs, my panelbeater friend phoned to say he had not yet been paid. Santam were not bothered. They said they had faxed a final clearance to me to sign but they had not received this back ( I had never received it as they had sent it to a non-existent fax number). Santam had never bothered to check. Why should they - the longer they can not pay out, the better for their cash flow. To add insult to injury, they then go and pay into my banking account (more hassles for me) and not to the panelbeater. Their excuse was: Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“he is not on our panel!Ă˘â‚¬Âť.