this week’s Consumerwatch, WENDY KNOWLER took up one such case.
In this week’s Consumerwatch, WENDY KNOWLER took up one such case.
The South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) is the only insurer covering claims caused by riots, civil unrest and terrorism, and vandalism caused by public disorder.
The State-owned insurer was inundated with claims after the widespread destruction in Gauteng and particularly in KZN, but promised to pay all claims, instructing private insurers to go ahead and to speed up the process.
National Treasury has agreed to inject R3.9 billion into SASRIA but its board chairperson has said that this would still leave a significant shortfall, because Sasria “only” has a balance sheet of R9 billion and they are facing R20bn to R25bn in claims. So the R3.9bn which Treasury has offered to give Sasia is not going to solve the problem.
So Sasria insurance is not provided directly to the public, but instead handled via direct insurers, who essentially manage the service on Sasria’s behalf, thus enabling the state-owned entity to provide cover at a lower cost
Which brings to the story of Nellie Botha, whose shop in Glenwood Village - One Stitch @ a Time was looted on July 12, along with most of the other stores in that shopping centre.
Four brand new sewing machines, ballet and ballroom dancing shoes, baby
clothes, dresses, bags of yarn, a laptop and a microwave were stolen. The claim ran to about R75 000. Nellie contacted her insurer, Outsurance, which assured her she was covered by
Then came a phone call from Outsurance to say, actually you don’t have Sasria cover, but don’t worry, that was our bad, so we will pay your claim.
Then on September 24 Nellie was told, sorry, we aren’t going to pay your claim
as it would be unfair on others.
“I have been with Outsurance for seven and a half years, and never missed a payment.
We have 2 homes, my business, 3 vehicles all insured with them spanning 21 years.This has been a major set back for me and my shop.” I took up the case with Outsurance. Wasn’t Sasria cover automatically added to policies such as Nellie’s?
Responding, Outsurance said for business policies, Sasria is an optional cover.
“Due to the fact that we have many and varied optional covers, all of them are listed on our client’s schedules, clearly indicating which of these are covered, or not. “These schedules are sent to our clients at inception of the policy, at annual re-rate. and available on our app, client portal or by calling our call centre. “Sasria cover was not discussed during the call on this policy = our client has other policies where Sasria cover was accepted and effective.
(That suggests it was offered in those calls but for some reason not during the
call to instigate this particular one).
“We sent our client numerous documents that reflect SASRIA cover as NOT being active.
“She did not contact us to activate this cover.
“There was no error when the cover was sold.
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The error is he incorrect feedback provided on teh claim that gave our client the indication that this claim would be settled.
“Based on this poor service interaction, we have made the decision to cover the
claim and have discussed the settlement with our client.”
"Since the riots and events of Jul 2021, we offer SASRIA cover of every business quote.”
If you haven’t already, check your car, home contents and business cover to make sure you have SASRIA cover.
Take a listen as Wendy Knowler shares how to deal with a similar case:
“Pain relieving” patches - the pull-off creates pain for some
Clicks has recalled its own-brand “odourless warming pad” after I took up the case of a customer who was burnt by one.
Tammy Richards recently applied Clicks’ own brand “Odourless warming pad” to a painful area of her torso, and while it did a great job of relieving her pain, the problem started when she removed it six hours later.
“I had a scratchy funny feeling, but assumed it was from the sticky tape that was stuck to my skin and put some tissue oil over it, but the site soon developed large blisters,” she told me.
She emailed me after interacting with the store and Clicks’ head office, and sharing photos of the severe blistering she experienced, for the best part of a week, because at that point she wasn’t convinced that her complaint was being taken seriously.
This is not a one-off case, by the way.,
A year ago several people contacted me to say their skin was injured - one of them seriously - when they removed another brand of heat patch, Dr Lee. I took up the issue with Clicks, and included the photos Tammy had provided me of her injury.
I asked Clicks whether the company had received any other such complaints about that product, and what it would consider to be a fair, reasonable and appropriate response to Tammy’s complaint.
Responding, Clicks began by saying that it takes product safety "extremely seriously”.
“We use an ISO 13485 Medical Devices certified supplier for the production of Clicks Odourless Warming Pads. Batch release tests are also performed on the temperature delivered by the warming pads.
"We have been in contact with Ms Richards and apologised for the incident. We have taken a full report from her and have also refunded the product purchase in the interim.”
The company said it sold more than 43 000 units through its store network in the past year, but did not say whether any other consumers had complained of skin damage on removing them.
BUT HERE’S THE IMPORTANT BIT:
“However,” Clicks said, “purely as a precautionary measure, we have taken the decision to remove the product from our shelves for investigation. Although the product contains specific warnings to not place this product on sensitive skin, we will also provide expanded warnings on the correct usage instructions so that it is clearer to our customers.”
Tammy told me she visited three Clicks stores this week and the product was not on sale in any of them.
Well played, Clicks.
Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.
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