In July, Brian Sauer’s Chevy Aveo – with automatic transmission – was stolen from outside his plumbing supplies store in a Midrand factory compound. He had bought it new just six months earlier for R140,000. His insurers, Outsurance, were brilliant.
“They sent me an email asking how I rated their service, I said sensational!” Sauer tells Noseweek.
Within two weeks, Outsurance had paid out and Sauer was able to buy another brand new nice, white Chevy Aveo from the Fury Motor Group dealership in Rivonia, from where he’d bought the first one.
Sauer took delivery on a Monday afternoon, by which time he’d already arranged for a technician from Cartrack to be at his office first thing on Tuesday to instal a tracking device in his new car – taking no chances this time around.
Come 9am on Tuesday, the tracker man was there with his toolbox. He asked Brian to park his car in a neighbouring side street, out of sight of curious eyes that might want to see just where the device was being installed. It sort of made sense.
At 10am Sauer took his son around the corner to show off his new car, and to check up on how the tracker man was doing. All seemed well – quite jolly, in fact: as he worked, the tracker man was chatting away to a friend sitting in the front seat of the car. With his son duly impressed, Sauer returned to his office.
Imagine Sauer’s shock and surprise when, 20 minutes later, the tracker man was howling in his office, telling him between sobs, that the “stranger” that he’d seen chatting away to him in the front seat had just hijacked the car. And, that this terrible ordeal had happened just as he was about to activate the tracking device. Yes, it wasn’t actually working yet.
Outsurance weren’t quite as nice this time. “The tone of the questions their investigator asked, made me feel like I’m the criminal,” says Sauer.
Never mind, within days they’d agreed to pay for the repairs. Brilliant! But then, not-so-nice turned to nasty. Sauer was told that Outsurance were “blacklisting” him and cancelling his insurance.
That means that from now on, he will be obliged to inform every insurer he approaches for insurance that he has been refused insurance by Outsurance. This will either result in his being refused insurance, or in his having to pay double, or more, than his previous premium.
“It simply isn’t fair,” he says. “I’m 66 years old, and in all my life I’ve only claimed for two windscreens that were cracked because of the roadworks that have been going on around here for years. And then, by extreme bad luck, I get my car stolen twice within seven months. It’s got nothing to do with risky behaviour on my part.”
Noseweek called the Outsurance call centre and spoke to Retention Team Manager Sharmini Gangee.
She informed us that Sauer had paid only R21,000 in premiums, while Outsurance had already had to pay out over R150,000 in claims in a short period. Not much of a deal from their point of view.
“Our actuary takes a business decision to terminate the policy. Every insurer across the board is likely to have made that decision. Any insurer that takes you on will increase the premium and the excess payment required.”
Gangee tells Noseweek there’d be no point in our talking to Outsurance’s risk department: “Once a decision has been made, we can’t reverse it.”
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