Cape Town - An Atlantis woman whose husband was shot dead in crossfire while dropping his child off at crèche was stunned when financial services company Old Mutual rejected a life policy claim because he had not declared a medical condition.
"He was shot. He did not die of high blood pressure, or sugar diabetes," said Renei Kruger, as she tried to make sense of the upsetting turn of events.
According to the police report at the time, Brent Kruger, 32, was dropping their young daughter off at crèche on June 22 when a bullet struck him. He was still in his vehicle, and he died at the scene.
Four teens between 15 and 18 have been arrested and charged with murder.
Brent had been the bread winner in the family, so even though she was devastated, Renei knew that at least she and their three girls had been provided for through the life insurance policy he had been paying.
However, when she claimed, she was told that it would not be paid out because he had never disclosed that he was being treated for diabetes.
"He did not have diabetes. The doctor advised him to do exercise and lose some weight," said Kruger.
"We used to go for walks, and we changed his diet. It was just routine advice."
He was not receiving insulin or any chronic medication for diabetes either, she said.
Times have been tough for her and the girls. Shortly after her husband was killed, she discovered she was pregnant.
She and the girls are living with family at the moment.
She does not have a car to use because Brent's car lurched forward into a vibracrete fence when he was shot.
She does not have the money to fix it because she no longer has the work that she did for Brent in the office at his cupboard manufacturing business.
She said they had started paying the policy premiums - around R600 a month - two years ago.
However, the business went through a dry spell and the policy lapsed because they had not paid the premium for a few months. When they were on their feet again, they signed papers to start paying again, and it was reactivated on June 15.
Seven days later her husband was dead.
"It is hard. The other night I just cried. I miss my husband."
Jaco Gouws, Old Mutual Protection Product head, said it is important to understand the difference between life cover that is not underwritten, like a funeral plan, to life cover that is underwritten to take risk into account.
In the latter, the applicant provides health and medical information that Old Mutual accepts in good faith to determine the level of risk and the level of cover.
"When we assessed this particular claim, it appeared that Mr Kruger had a pre-existing medical condition that was not disclosed in his application.
"This information was material to the risk assessment and would have impacted our decision to offer the cover. This non-disclosure therefore undermines the validity of the original contract.
"As part of our review process, and given the additional information provided by Mrs Kruger, we will ask the nominated doctor to forward the relevant medical records and other pertinent information related to Mr Kruger's change of health. This information will enable us to reassess the original claim," said Gouws.
He added that Old Mutual pays out 99% of underwritten death claims, and the company is committed to resolving the Kruger matter "fairly and urgently".