Round 3: Toby Hanks vs The Insurance People

May 30, 2007 at 11:16 am (insurance)

It’s been a lengthy battle but it finally seems as if these people are seeing the light. I spoke to one of the managers at my insurance company (Still no word from my first guy, mind you). He’s proposed a compromise after lengthy apologies and an acknowledgment that they screwed up.
A free month cover, a waiver on two key aspects of my policy (which would’ve had me shelling out a few more rand), punishment for the sales guy and a market related cover figure instead of a trade related cover.
My policy will still be more than what was now originally quoted but this is what they’ve now offered. I have yet to accept but for me the most important part is resolved: they admitted their guy screwed up and they said sorry.
What I have learnt from this whole thing:

  • Make notes and get the names of everyone you speak to – I quoted extensively from my notes so could tell them exactly what went on in our conversation.
  • Always triple check the excess you’re quoted on is not just the basic excess (there’s a difference between the two which the guy failed to make clear to me).
  • Don’t give up no matter how frustrating it is. It takes a lot of calls and angry exchanges but if you stick to your guns you will get somewhere.
  • Don’t just accept the first thing they tell you. If you have a point, make it – several times if you have to.
  • Have faith in our consumer complaints bodies. After making it clear I would lodge a complaint with the ombudsman (thanks Louisa!) and contact consumer journalists such as Kampvegter at Die Burger ( and Wendy Knowler at the Cape Times (, things started moving much faster. But I also made it clear that I would only do this after I had tried to solve it myself. They understood the situation wasn’t just a case of running to the media, so tried their best to fix it.
  • There are some nice guys out there. My Complaints Guy followed up to check if a manager had contacted me and asked if I was happy with the service and the result. I would like to think it’s because he’s genuine and not because he was scared shitless I would get him into trouble.


  1. madamm said,

    it is important to make big companies understand that they can’t fool around with the “small people”.
    Well done Toby, I’m very happy for you!

  2. Louisa said,

    Whoooohooo! Well done Toby. I’m glad it’s getting resolved now.

  3. tbhanks said,

    Thanks MrsM. I worry, though, about people who don’t have that much time and energy to phone constantly. Even I was starting to lose it. See the average Joe may not follow up and this is what I tried to explain to the guy. He eventually said I’m right and all that.
    Louisa, yes, I am glad too. Thanks for the excellent tip – it helped when I threw that into the conversation with them!

  4. Louisa said,

    Anytime – I’m glad that it helped.

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