How To Complain About Your Insurance Provider

Unsure of how or who to complain to when you have a problem with your insurance provider? Here is what you need to do to file a complaint.
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Published: Thursday, March 9th 2017
General
Are you unhappy with your car insurance provider, but aren't sure what can be done about it? Read on, we've got you covered (literally). Like many industries, car insurance shares an ombudsman with other short term insurances. The Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance (OSTI) settles disputes between providers and customers if a customer feels like they have been unfairly treated.
Wanting to change insurance companies? Come here first and get the best car insurance premium for you!

Short Term Insurance Disputes Covered By OSTI

  • Motor
  • Home (Buildings)
  • Household (Contents)
  • Cellphone
  • Travel
  • Disability
  • Credit protection insurance
  • Commercial Insurance on a limited basis
    • Claimants such as small business owners, including a sole proprietor or trader, a juristic person, partnership or trust that has a turnover in the last financial year of less than R25 million.
    • Claim disputes which the office can assist with, include fire and allied perils, glass, theft, motor, travel, sickness and accident and SASRIA claims (affiliated to the aforesaid covers).

When Can You Complain To The Ombudsman?

To start the process, you must have already tried to settle the dispute with your insurance provider. It is best to lodge a complaint in writing. If, however, you do call, write down the name of the person you speak to as well as the time and date and what was discussed during the phone call. This may be used at a later stage. If you can record a reference number, this is also useful. 
  1. Deal with the same person every time (if possible) - It is best to attempt to contact the person you originally dealt with. If they cannot help, indicate that the matter will be taken further. Seek details of the name or job title of the person who will be handling your complaint and for details of the insurer's complaints procedure.
  2. Ask to speak to a Senior Official - If your problem is not settled, ask to speak to someone in management.
  3. Be thorough - In your complaint, make sure you are thorough and lay the facts out as clearly as possible. It is not enough to say that you are dissatisfied. Explain exactly what has transpired and how the company dealt (or didn't) with your issues and complaints. Write down the facts in logical order and stick to what is relevant. Lastly, and most importantly, include your claim number, or your policy number, so insurers can assess exactly what has been done
  4. Keep everything - Make sure to keep a copy of any letters between you and the insurer.

If You Cannot Settle With Your Insurer, Contact OSTI

  1. You will need to fill in and send a complaint form.
  2. If this fails, the next step would be to issue a summons out of the Small Claims Court on the Insurance Company.Note however, that there is a small cost involved. The maximum amount that can be claimed in the Small Claims Court is R15 000
  3. If you still get stuck here, your best option would be to consult an attorney. 
 

What You Need To Keep In Mind When Going to OTSI

Firstly, filing and analyzing the complaints do in fact take time.  Once the ombudsman has reviewed the complaint, they will refer to it to the insurer. Once a response is received from an insurer, it will be studied by the ombudsman.  The ombudsman will then revert back to you with the reply and either request further details from you or ask for your comment back. The ombudsman may then either decide in favour of you, or in favour of the insurer rejecting your claim. 

Types Of Disputes

  1. Dissatisfied with repairs
  2. Unfair claim rejection
  3. Low compensation for a damaged, stolen or hijacked vehicle
  4. Another party's insurer not paying out correctly
  5. Insurer cancelling a policy unfairly
 

Hello Peter Or Social Media 

We live in a digital age where all eyes are on the internet. This means, if we are disgruntled with a provider, it is commonplace to voice our displeasure online. Facebook and Twitter have become platforms for live debate on service delivery. Many customers find that using social media to complain or address issues simply circumvents the frustrating process of call centers. In fact, 33% of consumers currently prefer contacting service providers via digital means rather than calling in. Most brands, in fear of damage to their reputation, will revert to comment on social media within three hours.  These platforms, however, are not only to berate service providers, but are also used to commend and congratulate companies on a job well done. HelloPeter on the other hand is an open platform whereby you can lay your complaint or even compliment in order for them to independently resolve the issue. This is a rating platform that companies pay to be listed on in order to respond to complaints. Most consumers claim that they use this platform as it by-passes the contact center and goes straight to someone who can immediately and efficiently assist. 
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