No help at all in hour of need

A SOWETO man feels his insurance company has betrayed him in his hour of need.

A SOWETO man feels his insurance company has betrayed him in his hour of need.

Johannes Mulaudzi's insurance claim was rejected and he has a R124 000 debt to pay for the car that was written off in an accident.

Mulaudzi says he joined Dial Direct in January this year. He paid a premium of R695 on the first day of every month. But in September his premium was reversed because there were insufficient funds in his account, he says.

Two days later he called the company and offered to make a cash deposit, but their agent told him not to worry because they would debit it on the 16th of the month.

"I told Zandi, the lady I was talking to, that there might be insufficient funds on the 16th and asked her to debit my account on the 28th when I get paid. She agreed," he says.

Unfortunately he had an accident on the 28th but that was after Dial Direct had accepted his premium, he says.

He reported the accident after his car was towed away by South Site Towing, which was the first to arrive on the scene. But because they were not an authorised towing company he had to pay them an extra R3500 since Dial Direct only paid the normal towing fees of R2500, Mulaudzi says.

He says Dial Direct kept him updated and he also cooperated and supplied all the information they needed to facilitate his claim.

"I was treated with respect and as a valued client by Dial Direct until October 9, when they demanded my September premium," he says. "Then they rudely told me that they would not settle my claim and I had to remove my car from their pound."

Mulaudzi says it was only then that they told him he had not paid his premium for September. He says they would not listen to the circumstances that led to his premiums being paid late that month.

"They reversed my payment into my account and simultaneously cancelled my policy," he says.

Mulaudzi says Dial Direct did not even bother to tell him it had cancelled his policy and reversed his premiums.

A letter confirming cancellation of the policy was given to a third party who had approached Dial Direct for clarification of their reason for repudiation.

"It was dated October 11, which was a Sunday, when I did not expect them to work," he says.

Mulaudzi says he is bitter because he has had to pay the car installments when Dial Direct should be accountable for this problem.

Sowetan is in possession of his statements, which show that there was money in his account on September 2 when he allegedly tendered cash before Dial Direct reversed his payment 11 days after processing his claim.

Dorothy Smith, an executive officer of client services at Dial Direct, is investigating Mulaudzi's claim and promised to respond to his accusations promptly.