Underwriters have assured clients that all outstanding claims will be paid out within 24 hours and confirmed that some claims were already settled after the protest.
OLD MUTUAL has confirmed that Motheo Funeral Services is indeed underwritten by them, this follows protests in Kimberley by angry clients who have demanded that their claims, which date back to February 2021, be paid out.
About 50 clients and agents confronted the owner of Motheo Funeral Services, Aloycious Rautenheimer, at his office on Wednesday last week.
On Tuesday this week, Old Mutual assured clients that all outstanding claims would be paid out as speedily as possible.
Old Mutual pointed out that it was important to note that each claim is treated on its merits and must undergo the claims assessment process before a settlement is made.
The clients, who are from the surrounding areas of Ritchie, Jacobsdal, Koffiefontein, Hopetown, Warrenton and Jan Kempdorp, last week vented their frustrations outside the offices of Motheo Funeral Services in Kimberley.
The police were called to the scene to intervene after Rautenheimer told the clients to open a criminal case against him if they feel defrauded.
The clients demanded that the offices be closed in order to prevent the funeral service from “defrauding more innocent people”.
They threatened to remove the office equipment and Old Mutual agreement certificates hanging on the office walls.
They slammed Motheo Funeral Services, saying that they had to take on debt in order to get the money to bury their loved ones, who are supposed to be beneficiaries of the funeral service.
They claimed that the policies were no longer underwritten by Old Mutual.
Rautenheimer told them that it was not possible to reimburse their premiums, based on the contractual agreement.
According to Rautenheimer, Motheo Funeral Services has about 700 active clients, whose grievances differ in merit.
He urged the clients to approach him for referral letters if they wanted to move to another scheme.
The clients wanted Rautenheimer to reimburse their monthly premiums as they doubted that he could afford to pay out claims to over 40 of them.
Rautenheimer was adamant that Motheo’s underwriter was Old Mutual, and that there has never been any communication that their relationship has ended.
“It is news to me that our relationship with Old Mutual has ended and that they are no longer our underwriter.
“If that was the case, we would not be having these agreement certificates hanging on our walls,” Rautenheimer assured the clients last week.
While Rautenheimer kept assuring the clients that their claims would be paid within two weeks, due to an administration glitch on Old Mutual’s side, the clients were apparently receiving messages informing them that their Motheo policies had been cancelled with Old Mutual.
Dumezulu Shiburi, from Old Mutual, said on Tuesday that, upon investigation, Old Mutual discovered that Motheo Funeral Services, a registered FSP, did not lodge policyholder claims for Old Mutual to process.
Shiburi said further that Motheo did not pay over policyholder premiums to Old Mutual through an intermediary as per the premium collection agreement.
“Old Mutual is aware that such conduct has had a negative impact on customers. As a way of resolving the matter, Old Mutual is in the process of contacting all affected customers to ensure that all claims are submitted directly to us.
“Old Mutual is also engaging both Motheo and the appointed administrator to ensure they comply with regulatory processes.
“Almost 80% of Old Mutual Foundation Market claims are paid within 24 hours” said Shiburi.
Rautenheimer confirmed that they were busy with the process of re-submitting the claims that he said they had submitted to Old Mutual before, after some of his clients informed him that Old Mutual had sent them messages that it had reversed the cancellations.
He expressed relief that the matter was cleared up and that Old Mutual had started paying out the claims.
“We hope that this will reinstate the trust between Motheo and the clients,” he said.
“We will try to repair our reputation following this misunderstanding, to maintain our clients.
“We have learnt a great deal from this experience and will avoid it in the future, for the benefit of the clients.”
He said that he has been struggling to get hold of the executive underwriting managers (EUM) to get clarity regarding the communication channels with the clients.
“We don’t understand why Old Mutual should want to communicate directly with our clients and what our role will be as a scheme.”