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.

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Round 2: Toby Hanks vs the Insurance People

May 23, 2007 at 9:26 am (annoying, fury, insurance, patronising)

I have yet to receive word from my insurance guy. I’ve been blown off every single time I’ve called.
First (after calling his direct line for the umpteenth time) I was put on hold then transferred to an automated voice system that put me on hold again. For 15 minutes. That’s hellishly long when you’re holding on.
Then, when I tried later, someone else answered. I asked for my guy and this dude said he’d transfer me. Puts me on hold. Two minutes later he’s back: “Sorry, there seems to be a problem with your guy’s phone. I’ll take a message for him and get him to call back immediately,” says he.
Three hours later my guy has still not called and I dial again. Someone else answers, asks who it is and after I’d identified myself, my guy suddenly became unavailable. The convo went something like this:

TB: Oh, so now he becomes unavailable when he hears it’s me?
Other Guy: Sorry m’am but your guy’s line is engaged. He’s really busy.
TB: He HOUNDED me when he wanted me to take out the policy. Called so many times. Now he’s too busy?! [starting to sound like a jilted girlfriend] Actually, I’m starting to feel as if I’m being blown off.
OG: Sorry. Perhaps you can leave a message.
TB: I have left several messages. Is he going to be too busy to ever call back. [voice drops to a deadly whisper à la Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada].
OG: [obviously uncomfortable] Er, um, can I take a message?
TB: You tell him he must phone me today still. I will not leave another message because even you know who I am and you all have my number.
OG: I’ll ask him to call you, m’am.

Two hours later: still no word from my guy. Other guy obviously didn’t convey my serious pissed-off-ness. I’ve given them enough chances – I’m moving up. Back to complaints department where I outlined my problem to Complaints Guy (CG). After a brief rundown CG agrees there may some irregularity and promises to listen to the tapes then get back to me.
I’m waiting CG. Don’t you dare bail on me too.

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The joke of insurance

May 11, 2007 at 2:48 pm (annoying, funny, insurance)

Ok, what’s the deal with insurance dudes? Do they all read from the same script? I would slit my wrists if I had to go through all those questions so many times on a regular basis. But what freaked me out most was they all made the SAME jokes. And lame ones at that.
I mean, puhleez. You seriously have to hear them to get the whole picture. I can understand they have to ask the same questions because they need to know if they should cover me but the jokes were too much. They were as stale, stilted and mif as the bread you’d find in a bachelor’s fridge.
Insurance people should take note: people are not dumb. If they’re phoning around to get quotes from various companies they’ll know you’re being lame because they’ve heard the same “joke” from the three guys before you.
Don’t they make enough money to do some decent call centre training?

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The insanity that is insurance

May 8, 2007 at 1:18 pm (annoying, insurance, money, relax, sneaky)

How about this insurance thing, huh? You just gotta love it. They take your money on the off chance something will happen to your car. You have to install extra security features (which can cost quite a packet) to make your wheels safer if you still want to walk home with some cash come payday and if, heaven forbid, something actually happens to your car you have to beg like smack-whore needing some of the brown stuff to get even a little money from them. Your money, I might add.
But alas, I have to lay myself before these money-grabbing beasts. I guess I don’t have a choice. I’ve resisted for more than three years but since I now have a car that costs more than a pack of Smarties I have to submit to pressure from all corners (ja, Jerry Clyde, jy wiet mos).
Of course the thought of having to give into them makes me feel more and more POd by the minute so perhaps I shouldn’t think about it for now. I think it’s more of a principle thing anyway – I just don’t want to give these sharks their bait. Dammit, I want the pound of flesh to stay firmly in my pocket (if it can be there literally, I want it their figuratively too).
*Grumble, mumble* As if I don’t have enough extra expenses these days.

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