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Bewildering Smartphone Insurance Claim with FNB

24 April 2013, 10:57
Insurance complaints are probably a dime a dozen, and this story is no exception. What is amazing is the amount of personal effort I needed to go through to get my claim through and work done. This is a cautionary tale for others so they may actually get their claims through.  

I have a smart phone which I purchased and insured via FNB. To cut a long story short, the phone was dropped and the glass cracked. Since it was a minor crack I held off on claiming - until the phone speaker packed up. Unable to hear in-coming calls I phone FNB to determine whether I was covered - as I had never received an insurance schedule from them.

To my great surprise, the FNB consultant told me that actually I was covered for accidental damage screen damageand therefore I could lodge a claim. I did, and they sent the courier round to get the phone.

Knowing how customer service works (or doesn't) in this country I decided to follow up each step of the way to make sure things actually got done. Once again to cut a long story short.... when the phone got to the service company, they checked it and quoted for repairs (FNB never told me, I discovered for myself what the quoted cost was); I phoned FNB to ask if they could go ahead and approve the repair, at this stage they told me that actually they had underwriters who did that... so I followed up with their underwriters (CIB)... who told me ... SORRY, YOU ARE NOT COVERED FOR THAT... this is of course after I had been told the opposite BEFORE lodging my claim...

I was angry as I never would have instituted the claim if I was told that before. After many phone calls and following up the chain of command - requesting transcripts of recorded calls etc - it emerged that actually I was insured for the damage under my original contract, however, CIB had taken over the insurance from FNB and was now rewriting the contract UNILATERALLY!

They had not informed anyone of the changes yet, had not sent out new schedules and wording, but were already applying the changes to anyone that phoned in. Regardless of whether you were insured by FNB BEFORE they took over or not!

Surely this amounts to fraud in the worst case, and to mis-information in the least. If I had not followed up I would not have discovered any of this. Never mind the fact that I had to massage the phone through the entire process, had to deal with 3 companies and numerous individuals every step of the way to get this done.

So beware, if they tell you you are not covered, check when they changed the schedule - apparently it's from the end of march. If you were insured before then, demand justice.

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