easE pain of JOB loss

BEING retrenched is devastating and many people are losing their property and minds because they have suddenly become over-indebted.

BEING retrenched is devastating and many people are losing their property and minds because they have suddenly become over-indebted.

One life insurance policy is much like another, right?

Most people believe the benefit of life policies will be realised only when they pass away. But, depending on the policy you take out, it can also cover disability (permanent and temporary), deadly disease and retrenchment.

Consumers seldom take a retrenchment benefit because no one thinks of lo sing his or her job. But the retrenchment benefit has become more relevant now that companies are being forced to downsize.

And wise people who took the cover are having their furniture paid up and the monthly instalments on their houses and cars paid for at least six months while they look for alternative jobs.

Phumelele Nkosi is one such consumer. Nkosi bought a house a year ago and her financial adviser told her to also take a retrenchment benefit for which she paid an additional R110.

This benefit should have relieved her of repaying her bond for six months while she looked for a new job.

Her problem is that Hollard insurance has not acted on her claim and this makes her panic. She cannot sleep at night.

She said when she signed up a Hollard consultant told her the insurance would kick in immediately if she lost her job - but this has not happened for three months so she decided to approach Consumer Line for help.

Bhavni Meintjies, a media relations manager at Hollard, told Consumer Line that Nkosi's claim was receiving attention.

She said some beneficiaries panic because they expect payment in the first month after retrenchment.

"There is a three-month deferment period from the date of retrenchment," Meintjies said. "The claim is in progress and Hollard will start repaying her bond in due course."

Meinjties said she understood that Nkosi had lost her job due to no fault of her own. She pointed out that the benefit did not cover dismissal and resignation.

She said if a consumer took out a life policy when buying a home or motor vehicle or making a personal loan, depending on the specific benefits of your policy, the retrenchment benefit could cover your loan repayments for a specific period of time.

"In this case the premium due in terms of the policy will also be waived during the period of retrenchment," Meintjies said. "A second insured person, if defined in your policy, can also be insured under this benefit.

"Waiting periods apply to this type of benefit. This could mean that you cannot submit a claim for six months."

As policies and selected benefits and processes differ, it is essential that beneficiaries read and understand the wording and take note of any additional clauses their specific policies might contain.

She advised beneficiaries to ensure that they adhere to the timelines stipulated by the policies and lodge claims with their insurance companies within the specified time period.