CR114 Snatching at a bargain

CR114

Snatching at a bargain

Background

At regular intervals, but also on request, the insurance company provided the policyholder with detailed policy information schedules which featured, inter alia, estimated maturity values. These were values that were not guaranteed but were forecasts of future growth. For a short period of time, just a few weeks, incorrect estimated maturity value figures were quoted. Instead of an EMV of R200 000 the policyholder was told that the EMV was R1 200 000. The complainant wished to hold the insurance company to the incorrect figure. The insurance company stated that the error arose as a result of a data processing system malfunctioning.

Assessment

The Ombudsman accepts that data processing systems do occasionally go wrong; life companies are not infallible and errors do occur from time to time. In this instance the incorrect figures quoted were way out of line with figures quoted both previously and subsequently. Furthermore, the error was of such magnitude that the figures quoted could not in any way have been regarded as realistic and clearly pointed to the fact that a mistake had been made.

Result

The Ombudsman took the view that the complainant was taking advantage of an error to snatch at a bargain. The complaint itself was not upheld but an award of R2500 to compensate for inconvenience suffered was made.

DM
October 2005

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