Last year, Momentum was forced to put out a number of fires after South Africa rallied behind the widow of Durban man Nathan Ganas.
You may remember the story, with Ganas dying from wounds sustained during a hijacking in March 2017. The insurer first opted not to pay out on his life insurance policy, due to the non-disclosure of a pre-existing health condition, but changed their mind after the public backlash.
This time around it’s another Durban resident, Sumintra Beeputh, who is taking action against Momentum.
Let’s cover the basics below via Fin24:
In this latest case, Sumintra Beeputh signed up for a policy with Momentum in 2007.
According to her daughter, Suretha, her mother’s product at Momentum had been altered without her knowledge, and the company later accused her of being in arrears for that product – which jeopardised her good standing on her existing cover, and ultimately her benefits.
An alteration form given to Sumintra Beeputh and shared with Fin24 dates the application for a new product as of March 2014.
Suretha told Fin24 that Momentum not only demanded payment from her mother for the arrears but cancelled her whole pre-existing policy, all while continuing to collect premiums from her account.
“Momentum removed my CPI in 2014 and did not rectify the same. According to Momentum it’s okay that that broker admitted and apologised to his error. That’s it. No further remedy was made available,” said Sumintra Beeputh…
Suretha Beeputh said Momentum continued accepting payments from her mother after they had cancelled the policy, all while the client was not aware the policy was cancelled.
Suretha further alleges that Momentum simply dismissed the complaint, without any compensation being offered, and will not be returning of the policy payments made whilst the policy was cancelled.
It’s hard enough watching money fly out of your account every month for insurance, knowing that you’re at least covered if something goes wrong. The idea that any amount has been paid, without that cover existing, would be infuriating.
Momentum, via Momentum Life client care manager Marius Kock, takes a different stance on the matter:
Kock told Fin24 that Momentum received a letter of demand on January 25, 2019. He said the fact that the financial planner submitted that the policy had a savings benefit needed to be interpreted and evaluated holistically and in the correct framework.
“The fact that we communicated unqualified information is regrettable, but it will not be able to procure the refund of all premiums as you enjoyed cover and benefits in exchange for the payment of a monthly premium,” said Kock.
Kock said the statement from Beeputh, that changes to the policy were made without her knowledge, was countered by Momentum’s records that indicate that she signed a request to make these specific changes to the policy.
Kock says that the risk cover policy was active from 2007 right through until 2017, when Sumintra stopped paying her premiums.
The ‘he said / she said’ will no doubt continue, with the matter set to be the subject of a court case.
If Momentum can show that Sumintra did indeed sign a request for those changes to be made, you would have to back the insurer to come out tops.
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