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May 22nd, 2018 by


Last week, the Ombudsman for Long-Term Insurance released the Ombud’s 2017 Annual Report. The report named and shamed South Africa’s worst insurance companies when it comes to responding to complaints.

Last year, the office handled 10,768 written requests for assistance. 5,435 of these were chargeable complaints – of which only 29% were entirely or even partially resolved in favour of complainants.

Every day, nearly 15 South Africans lodge a chargeable complaint with the long-term insurance Ombudsman.  Half of these are related to denied claims. Followed then by complaints of poor service from insurers.

For those who don’t know, the Ombudsman provides independent mediation services to insurance policyholders who might have a dispute with their insurer. The service is free to the consumer, but not to the insurers.

Insurers have to pay a per-complaint fee.

Let’s take a look at some of the other findings in the report, and of course, which long-term insurer came up short.

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How Does The Ombudsman Reach This Conclusion?

Last year, the Ombudsman recovered R193,3 million on behalf of complainants. Compensation to the tune of R531,429 was awarded to complainants in 150 complaints of poor service.

85% of all complaints were finalised within six months. And, as mentioned above, 29% were resolved wholly or partially in favour of complainants.

The Ombudsman gives insurers 21 working days to respond to a complaint once it has been raised within the Ombud. If the Ombudsman receives no response, a reminder is sent to the insurer. The insurer has to respond to this within a week.

If the Ombudsman still doesn’t receive a response, the case is deemed incompetent.

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Insurers may then be charged a double or even triple fee if further reminders need to be sent.

Which companies were rated as the best and worst insurance companies in South Africa? We found out!

05062017 CTAs 01 01 - 2017's Worst Long-Term Insurance Company Named

The Least Responsive Long-Term Insurance Company

The report revealed that Nedgroup Life – Nedbank’s insurance company – is by far the worst offender when it comes to ignoring complaints.

Rounding up the top offenders included:

  • Nestlife Assurance;
  • Safrican Insurance;
  • 1Life Insurance;
  • Alexander Forbes;
  • Worker’s Life Assurance, and;
  • First Rand Life.

All of the above reportedly received a number of reminders to respond to complaints raised with the Ombudsman.

Of all companies, though, Old Mutual Life Assurance received the most complaints last year with 847.

Some time ago, certain insurers suggested that the Ombud’s office release the names of the insurers who had been issued with repeated second reminders. Those who give the industry a ‘bad name’ are now exposed in the report every year.

Nedgroup, for instance, received 24 second reminders to respond. Next on the list was Nestlife Assurance with 19.

Deputy Ombudsman, Jennifer Preiss, said:

“When we see a late response trend emerging‚ we meet with the insurer‚ and usually they say it’s a staffing or system problem and that they are making changes.”

Having your company name appear on such a damning list could do you little favours. After all, how can a company deemed incompetent possibly seem like the best choice to insure you and your family?

Preiss has said that so far, in 2018, Nedgroup has made significant improvements.

“I don’t think we’ve had to send them a single second reminder this year.”

Are you looking for a new insurance company to suit your needs? We can help with comparative insurance quotes here!

Car Insurance Comparison7 - 2017's Worst Long-Term Insurance Company Named