Couple say Santam tricked them

A COUPLE claim Santam Insurance sold their truck after unfairly repudiating their claim and they are hopping mad.

A COUPLE claim Santam Insurance sold their truck after unfairly repudiating their claim and they are hopping mad.

The couple say Santam sold their truck to a scrap yard in Zeerust, North West, for R20000 before realising that they had misled their client into believing that the policy was in order.

Santam now wants to cancel the sale with the scrap yard.

Lillian and Martin Silongo of Kempton Park in Ekurhuleni took insurance cover for their business and two vehicles in August 2009.

"We paid R5000 every month without fail," Martin Silongo said.

In November 2009, their overdraft facility was suspended as their bank was reviewing their account.

When he realised that the November premiums did not gone through, Silongo called Santam and asked for their bank details.

The woman who assisted himallegedly told him not to worry because a double premium would be deducted in December. He said he was assured that the policy was in order.

His wife said they then double-checked with their broker, who also reassured them because Santam had said the policy was in order.

"As fate would have it, about ten days later, one of our trucks was involved in an accident in North West," Silongo said.

The truck was towed to Zeerust after Santam authorised the towing. Silongo said they later submitted their claim. A few days later when he inquired about the claim he was told that it was being processed.

"The truck was written off. They said they were waiting for me to bring our account up to date before they could release our cheque," Silongo said.

He said they had insured the truck for R150000, but that Santam had reduced the value to R90000.

He said he was told to follow up the matter with his broker.

Because his bank had not lifted the suspension on their account, the premium once again could not go through and Santam rejected the claim.

"We had the money (for the outstanding premius) and they refused to take it when we wanted to deposit it into their account," Lillian Silongo said.

The couple said Santam did not even call to arrange alternative payment.

After his claim was declined, they tried to reach an amicable solution with the insurers.

"Santam conceded that I had taken reasonable steps to ensure that my premiums were paid and that they refused to give me their bank details," Silongo said.

When the claim was repudiated in February, the scrap yard was told to return what was left of the truck to the couple .

The owner of the scrap yard, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he is stuck with the truck because Santam is not willing to pay his storage fees and towing costs and the couple did not want it.

Santam has declined to comment. Natasha Laing of Santam said they would only respond to the insurance ombudsman.

"We would like to advise that the matter is currently with the office of the ombudsman," Laing said in an e-mail.

"All correspondence and feedback will therefore only be communicated to their offices."