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'My 7-year insurance nightmare'

SHORT-CHANGED: Thulani Ndaba of Bramley, Johannesburg
SHORT-CHANGED: Thulani Ndaba of Bramley, Johannesburg

INSURANCE giant Chartis Life, formally AIG, is accused of rejecting a claim on the grounds that the claimant used an incorrect identification number when signing up with them.

It has been seven years since Thulani Ndaba of Bramley, Gauteng, submitted an affidavit and a letter from the Department of Home Affairs that confirmed that Chartis were to blame for the error.

Ndaba said his mother was issued with an ID bearing an incorrect date of birth, making her much older than she actually was.

He said she tried for eleven years to get it corrected and died 18 months after getting a correct one.

While his mother was battling to get her ID rectified, Ndaba said he received an unsolicited phone call from AIG insurance. They were selling insurance cover. Ndaba decided to buy cover for himself and his parents under the impression this was life cover.

"I did not know that they had sold me accident policies and only got clarity when they rejected my father's death claim," Ndaba said.

Ndaba's father died of natural causes in 2005 but had no policy document to refer to.

"The insurance company could only trace my father's membership using my ID numbers."

At that stage Ndaba said his mother had a similar policy. He said he continued to pay the monthly premiums until her death. His mother was involved in a accident in July 2007 and died a month later.

On reporting his mother's death he received a letter of condolence from the insurance company in which he was told that his claim was being processed.

But, Ndaba said, the insurance company later told him they could not find his mother's details on their system. It later transpired that the problem was due to the discrepancy on his mother's new ID and the death certificate.

Chartis allegedly advised Ndaba to submit an affidavit and a letter from Home Affairs confirming that the department had indeed issued both the ID and death certificate to his mother.

But the insurance company did not settle the claim even on receipt of the said documents. A day after Sowetan took up Ndaba's complaint Chartis asked him to resubmit his mother's documents so they could process his claim.

"They said I must courier my mother's original documents so they could process my claim," Ndaba said.

Chartis communications manager Brett Field said his company was committed to paying all properly submitted claims.

"We will work with the client to determine whether the claim was handled correctly.

"We contacted Ndaba last week and advised him that we would review the claim as part of our complaints procedure.

"I will be able to let you know about the outcome as soon as the review is completed," Field said.

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