Financial Planning

The office of the Long-term Ombudsman

Sekunjalo Life Assurance Company Limited (Sekunjalo Life) is the underwriter of a funeral Fund marketed and administered by a company that trades under the name Bonlife.

The complainant applied for and was granted funeral cover under the Fund for herself and certain members of her family, one of which was her father for whom the cover was R5 000. He later died and she lodged a claim for the funeral benefit, which Sekunjalo Life, represented at all times by Bonlife, declined to pay.

She then lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman which was duly finalised.

In the course of his investigation, the Ombudsman wrote to Sekunjalo Life on 8 March 2010, posing three questions, one of which had been asked previously but had not been answered. Despite reminders on 30 March, 14 April and 29 April, no response was received, and on 26 May, the Ombudsman therefore issued a provisional determination in terms of which Sekunjalo Life was ordered to pay compensation to the complainant in the sum of R1 000 for the distress and inconvenience Sekunjalo Life’s failure to respond had caused her. Sekunjalo Life did not respond to the provisional determination, and on 12 July the Ombudsman therefore issued a final determination in terms of which Sekunjalo Life was ordered to pay R1 000 into the complainant’s bank account on or before 26 July.

The payment was not made as ordered, and on 9 August the Ombudsman gave notice in terms of the Rules of his office, to which subscribing members such as Sekunjalo Life are bound, that the payment should be made on or before 6 September failing which the Ombudsman would in terms of the Rules publish the fact of Sekunjalo Life’s failure.

Payment was not made within the time allowed, and was only made on 15 September.

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