NAMFISA’s Complaints Department receives
and handles a number of complaints on a daily
basis. These complaints are dealt with according
the normal complaints handling procedures in
the Department. The following areas have been identified as requiring special attention focus by the consumers of financial services as they have featured in the complaints received during the preceding quarter. This section is therefore intended to advice consumers on how to handle financial matters and by so doing stay out of financial trouble.
MICRO-LENDING AND CREDIT
• Complainants must always give cancellation instructions in writing and ensure that they properly familiarise themselves with the terms of the contracts and determine under which circumstances they are entitled to cancel the contract.
• If a debtor takes out insurance to cover a debt, the debtor must ensure that they fully understand under which circumstances the insurer will pay out should they be unable to pay the loan back.
• We cannot instruct a lender to approve a loan. It is the prerogative of the lender to lend money to an individual or not.
• Complainants must always give cancellation instructions in writing and ensure that they properly familiarise themselves with the terms of the policies and determine under which circumstances and under what timeframes they are entitled to cancel policies.
• Furthermore, with regards to cancellations of policies, consumers must understand that there are also instances when an insurer can cancel a policy. Therefore, consumers must ensure they know whether such provisions apply to their policies and ensure they fully understand the applicable provisions.
• Consumers should take note of the waiting period with regard to some policies and they should understand that the mere fact that they have paid premiums equal to the waiting period does not necessarily mean the waiting period is over.
• The insurer pays out funeral cover if the insured has passed away and not necessarily the policyholder.
• If a consumer makes an investment and effects withdrawals in the interim, such withdrawals will be deducted when the actual benefit is to be paid out at maturity of the policy, etc.
• Clients need to understand that they are obliged to peruse contracts before signing them and that they are insured for what they really want. Complainants must ensure they understand the terms and conditions relating to their policies to ensure they are fully aware of what they are covered for and that it is indeed what they intend to be covered for.
• They must also properly ensure that they fully understand the exclusions applicable to their policies.
• In terms of legal insurance claims, they must understand that there is usually a provision indicating that a claim can be repudiated should the insurer believe that the insured does not have reasonable prospect of success. However, the consumer is entitled to know on what basis the insurer has concluded that there is no reasonable prospect of success.
• Claims must be lodged in writing and within the required timeframe.
• In cases where the insured goes ahead and obtains his own quotation to have something repaired or replaced, the insurer will not necessarily be obliged to pay the amount in the quotation if not previously discussed or agreed upon with the insurer. This is so in cases where the insured obtains only one quote, which is of an amount deemed “unreasonably
• Consumers should take note that pension payouts take some time to be finalised and that tax directives must be obtained before payments can be effected.
• They must also be sensitised regarding the payment options available to them when they claim for their pension pay-outs.
• Further special focus should be placed on what steps consumers can take to ensure that their pension benefits are being processed should an employer