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IZ_Use an insurance broker or go direct?

Use an insurance broker or go direct?

By | Individuals | No Comments

There’s nothing wrong with going direct for your insurance, it’s like getting takeout for the family and everyone’s happy with fried chicken. But if the kids want chicken, you’re doing low carb and your spouse wants a burger, you may have a problem. Sometimes your needs are just more complicated than what a one-stop-shop can offer. This is where insurance brokers come in and can actually save you money by crafting insurance that fits your needs, instead of trying to fit your needs into the insurance options commonly available.

Going direct may be for you if:

  • You have simple, uncomplicated, and straightforward needs where you only need basic advice. Simple needs don’t mean you aren’t paying a lot for your insurance, but simple needs mean simple insurance will suffice.
  • You are knowledgeable enough to know what you need and are capable and willing to take the time to go through the policy wording to make sure you fully understand all the Ts and Cs and what you’re signing up for.
  • You’re fine dealing with a call centre when you need help, need to claim, or have any questions.

Going through an insurance broker may be best for you if:

  • You have more complex, technical needs that require a high level of advice.
  • You aren’t 100% sure what kind of cover you need, for example, when it comes to your business. On a commercial policy you may get basic cover, however, there are specialist extensions only brokers know about that can have a serious impact on your policy − especially at the claims stage.
  • You don’t have the time or don’t want to shop around to find insurance that fits your needs, and you don’t have the time to read through and understand all the fine print and policy wording of a variety of insurance options.
  • You don’t want to deal with a call centre, you want personalised one-on-one service from someone who knows you and will develop a professional relationship with you in managing your risk and needs over time – someone who looks out for you, especially when it comes to claims.

It’s important to know that neither option is wrong – what’s best for you really depends on your needs. However, brokers are knowledgeable and licensed professionals who understand all the products available on the market. Take the following example: you own a business that manufactures parts for the motor industry. Most basic commercial policies will cover common risks and losses on a generalised level, so you could go direct. However, this could leave you open to industry-specific liabilities that your standard commercial policy wouldn’t cover. Standard policy means standard cover. A professional broker has the experience and knowledge to recognise the liabilities specific to your business and will advise you on how to cover these, for example, various intangible liability risks, product recall risks, specialised manufacturing machinery breakdown risks and distribution of product risks, which need to be transferred appropriately through brokers into specialised insurance markets. A broker can also assist with risk management within a manufacturing environment.

The benefit of a broker is that where an agent works for a specific insurer and can only advise and sell you on what their company is offering, brokers work for themselves and will find what works for you, and where more complex needs are involved, this could mean insuring your assets with various insurers or even getting specialised policies crafted for you. Meanwhile, you will still only deal with one broker, regardless of how many insurers are involved.

Having a one-on-one relationship with a broker also has benefits when it comes to maintaining and servicing your policy, annual renewals and updating your cover with elements you may not have even thought of. Developing a relationship with your broker means that your policy and cover will evolve with you, your business, and your family. Claims are also handled by your broker, who will help you sort things out from beginning to end. All of this translates to money, time and effort saved.

How To Avoid Winter Home Insurance Risks

How To Avoid Winter Home Insurance Risks

By | Individuals | No Comments

It’s that time of year when we’re all wrapped up in woolly coats, scarves and boots, craving hot drinks and sipping soup. We stock up on firewood and gas and then huddle next to our heaters or fireplaces at night. There are lots of plus sides to winter, the main one being that it only lasts a few months. But there are also downsides. One of them is that there are increased risks of damage to your home from things such as fire and burst water pipes. Here are some home insurance related risks experienced during Winter and how to avoid them.

FIRE

Everyone loves a roaring fire at night to warm up the house. But fires can be extremely hazardous if left unchecked; there are many examples of serious damage caused to homes and cars and even loss of life due to fire. One of the most recent was the massive fire in the coastal town of St Francis Bay in 2018, which caused damage worth millions of Rands, with many people claiming from their home insurance.

If you have a fireplace in your home, we urge you to make sure you’ve put the fire out properly before going to bed. Also be sure to put a grate in front of the fireplace so sparks don’t fly off and set carpets or furniture alight. The same applies to bonfires, braais and even candles – before you leave your home or go to bed, make sure that the fire has been put out and is not a risk to anybody or anything.

HEATING DEVICES

Fires aren’t the only things that can cause damage. Gas heaters are another common hazard, especially if they’re placed too close to curtains or flammable furniture. The same applies to electric blankets – if left on during the day or unattended for long periods, they can malfunction and cause fires.

WATER

Water can be just as damaging as fire. In winter, water in our household pipes often gets so cold that it freezes, which then causes the pipes to burst. To prevent this problem, we suggest that clients in colder areas install insulation over the pipes in their roof voids. This will keep the pipes warmer and stop the water from freezing.

MAINTENANCE

What many people don’t realize is that, as a homeowner, you’re responsible for any maintenance to your home, which in turn impacts your home insurance. If any damage is caused to your home due to neglecting the maintenance of your home properly, you run the risk that your insurer may not pay out your claim in all instances.

So, it’s a good idea to arrange for a contractor to inspect your roof for any maintenance-related problems during the Highveld winters when rainfall is lower. Also check that your waterproofing is working well and clear your gutters of leaves and other debris, so that when the rainy months come, you’re well prepared.

Making these small adjustments before Winter will mean a safer and more enjoyable Winter for you, your home and your family. Stay Safe and Warm!

What to do in case of a burst geyser

What to do in case of a burst geyser

By | Individuals | No Comments

Although we usually don’t dwell on things that can go wrong with the geyser, the reality is that something will, at some point. Here is what do when your geyser burst:

Contact the 24hr Orange Assist Emergency Helpline: 0861 467 966

Turn off the water supply

  • The water shut-off valve is usually situated outside

Switch the geyser off

  • The switch for the geyser is on your electrical distribution board.

Drain the geyser to reduce pressure

  • Drain the geyser to reduce pressure and minimize water damage if possible.
  • Be water wise and use buckets to collect the water to be used elsewhere.

Call for 24hr Home Assist – 0861 467 966

  • If you have the Orange Assist App, press the emergency assist button to have the call center call you back and arrange for an approved repairer to be sent to your location to begin repairs on your geyser.
  • You can also process your claim via the Insurance Zone Orange Assist App

Call your Broker

  • If you don’t have the Orange Assist App yet, call your broker and they will arrange for an approved plumber to be appointed as soon as possible so repairs to your geyser can be done.
  • Your broker will also send you the details to start your claims process.

Download the Orange Assist App for home assist at the touch of a button and to submit claims via the app.

Click here to download this article and send it you friends and family so they too will know what to do in case of a burst geyser.

Non-disclosure and how this may impact your insurance policy

Non-disclosure and how this may impact your insurance policy

By | Individuals | No Comments

Sometimes when adding or changing something to an insurance policy we might try and bend the truth because we think it might get us a lower monthly premium or save a buck here or there, however non-disclosure on an insurance policy could in fact result in a rejection of your claim. In this article we would like to draw your attention to the consequences of not disclosing all material facts at the time of taking out your insurance policy. The following are common points that are often not disclosed, resulting in a claim being deemed invalid.

  • Insurable Interest – A policy holder needs to suffer a financial loss in the event of a claim. If you can prove this then insurable interest usually exists. You cannot insure a friend’s car that is registered in their name that they have lent to you. The correct way would be for the friend (registered owner) to insure it, disclose the fact that you will be the regular driver and pay the premium based on this scenario.
  • Insolvency or judgements – If you have been declared insolvent or have judgements against you, this needs to be disclosed at the time of taking out a policy. If you already have a policy and you are subsequently declared insolvent or a judgement is issued against you, your obligation is to disclose this to your current insurer, failing which you may once again invalidate future claims due to non-disclosure. This is deemed a material change in facts, and as such needs to be disclosed.
  • Regular driver of a vehicle – An insurance premium is calculated based on more than just the age and experience of the regular driver, so it is important to disclose the correct information regarding the driver. Click here to view our previous #BrokerTipTuesday for more information on how insurers determine rates for particular vehicles: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/insurance-zone24_brokertiptuesday-insurancebroker-children-activity-6706448199642566657-ETTt
  • Previous claims – An insurers decision on whether to insure you or not is based on many facts, one of them being the correct disclosure of previous losses or claims. Please note that even if you had a loss and did not claim for it, this needs to be disclosed. Failing to disclose the correct details about previous claims may invalidate any future claims, as it can be argued that had the insurer known about all of your claims they may not have offered to insure you.

These are just a few examples of what you need to be aware of when taking a policy. If you would like to know more, please contact your personal insurance broker for more information.

What to do in case of a car accident

What to do in case of a car accident

By | Individuals | No Comments

Over one million car accidents occur each year in South Africa. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the drivers and passengers.

Here is a list of guidelines to follow if you are involved in a car accident:

Contact the 24hr Orange Assist Emergency Helpline: 0861 467 966

Stop and call for help

  • Stop, switch on your hazards to warn other vehicles and climb out of your car if it is safe to do so.
  • Call an ambulance and the police if passengers, drivers or pedestrians are injured.

Clear the road

  • Move any cars that are obstructing the flow of traffic, but be sure to mark their position on the road first if available, or to photograph the scene before the cars are moved. NOTE: If a person or animal has been injured in the accident do not interfere with the evidence or move any vehicles unless those vehicles are obstructing the traffic completely.

Assess the damage

  • For insurance purposes take photos of the accident from as many different angles as possible. Take close-up photos of any damage to your car and any other cars involved.

Questions and answers

  • Take down the following information from all other drivers involved in the accident as well as from people who witnessed the accident: Full names and surnames, ID numbers, contact details, vehicle registration, description of the vehicles (make, model and colour), Names and contact details of the police officials, paramedics and tow truck drivers
  • Take down the following details about your surroundings such as the street name and suburb, time of the accident, road conditions and visibility
  • Remember to also take note of what happened immediately before and after the accident, for example was the other driver drunk, talking on his/her cell or driving

Report the accident to the police

  • Report the accident to the police within 24 hours. If you are injured or in hospital and cannot report the incident within 24 hours, do so as soon as you possibly can and explain why your report is delayed.
  • Note: It is an offence not to report an accident in which another person has been injured or in which someone else’s property has been damaged even if neither of the parties intends taking legal action.

Report the accident to your insurance company

  • Report the accident to your insurance company and submit a claim where relevant.
  • Note: Report the accident to your insurance company even if you don’t intend submitting a claim to them. This is important because if you caused the accident another party involved in the accident may wish to make a claim against your policy. Click here to submit a motor accident claim form

Download the Orange Assist App for road and accident assist at the touch of a button and to submit claims via the app.

Click here to download this article and send it you friends and family so they too will know what to do in case of a car accident.

The most common rejected claims and how to prevent them from happening to you.

The most common rejected claims and how to prevent them from happening to you.

By | Individuals | No Comments

We thought we would highlight some of the common claims that are submitted where claims are either rejected outright, or where partial settlements are made. This article is not intended to point blame at either brokers, Insurers or clients, but simply to highlight the common areas of contention.

These will change from time to time, but these are the four common issues that arise at claims stage.

Underinsurance

Should a client not insure his household contents for the full replacement cost, and then have a claim, be it a power surge damaging their Hi-Fi system or a burglary where they steal a large amount of goods, their claim will be adjusted proportionately to the amount of cover they have selected. A practical example will be as follows: You insure your contents for R 1 million, when in actual fact your proper replacement value is R 2 million. You have a legitimate claim for a total of R 200 000. This is due to the fact that in the above example you have only insured for 50% of the value, you will only be paid out for 50% of your claim. You are therefore liable for R 100 000 of that claim. Please bear in mind that the value of your contents is based on replacement value, and not what you think it’s worth second hand. The same principle will apply for the structure of your home or building. If it is not insured for replacement value you may find that you are underinsured in the event of a claim.

Activation of Alarm systems

Please check your policy to see what conditions have been placed on your cover. It may be that you have an alarm endorsement, which states that your alarm must be linked to a response company and activated when the premises are left unoccupied. There are many instances where clients forget to activate their alarms, and as such invalidate their cover.

Proof of ownership

A condition of cover usually states that in order to settle a claim, an insurer requires proof of ownership for a specific item. This usually applies to high valued items or items that are specified under the all-risk section. Although this is pointed out to the clients at the time of taking out the policy, there are still many instances where a claim is submitted with no proof of ownership. A photo taken of you wearing a Rolex does not constitute as proof of ownership, however the original invoice or a valuation certificate does and will need to be submitted when claiming.

Claims that occur over a period of time

A policy wording states that a claim must be sudden and an unforeseen occurrence, however we receive many claims where a client submits a claim for things such as rising damp, or a wall that has slowly started to lean over due to poor design and build. This happens over a period of time and is not attributed to one defined event. In both of these instances there will be no cover. It is important to remember that an insurance policy is not a maintenance policy, and as such will not respond in those instances.

Learning more about your policy and the conditions of cover will give you the knowledge to make sound decisions and claims on your policy. Your broker is also there to assist you with these circumstances that will make claiming so much easier. Contact your broker today with any questions or queries you have around your policy.

Click here to find out more about submitting various claims with Insurance Zone.

 

The importance of using an insurance broker

The Importance of using an Insurance Broker

By | Individuals | No Comments

In an ever changing world, and with different generations all having different ways in which they prefer doing  business, one thing  hasn’t changed much over the years – and that is the need for good, professional advice.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, in order to position themselves in the market, direct insurers have portrayed Insurance brokers as an expensive link in the chain between client and Insurer. This cannot be further from the truth. It can be said that if you are a client with simple needs, then perhaps a direct insurer is the place for you. But before you decide, perhaps have a look at the benefits and importance of using an insurance broker and see whether the benefits suit your needs.

The benefits of using a broker:

  • With a broker, you get personalised service.
  • An Insurance Broker can save you time and money.
  • They are qualified to analyse your risks and to advise you accordingly.
  • Insurance can be complicated, so a broker is there to assess your situation and shop around for the right insurance product to meet your specific needs. That may mean placing some of your risks with various Insurers to get the best cover possible.
  • Brokers can even, under certain circumstances, arrange insurance cover that has been tailored for your individual needs.
  • Brokers assist you with your claims preparation and claims settlements – they advocate for their clients and ensure that they get the best possible settlement.
  • A broker acts on behalf of the client, not the insurer.
  • Brokers typically have experience on a wide range of products and services across the market which results in the client being presented with comparisons, without having to shop around themselves.

Accountability

In order to advise clients and to sell insurance in South Africa, Insurance brokers are required to register with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), and to remain “Fit and Proper” at all times. This means that brokers are constantly subjected to audits and checks throughout the year to ensure they remain accountable for their actions. Should your chosen broker not perform to the levels you expect, there are various, easily accessible organisations to report them to that will investigate at no cost to you, the customer.

Ongoing advice and support

Our role as your broker does not end once we have arranged your insurance. Apart from being there to assist you when the inevitable happens i.e. at claims stage, a broker also has a role in ensuring that your covers remain relative to your personal situation. Should your needs change your policy needs to be changed accordingly. Your broker will contact you at least once a year to either meet with you or to do a telephonic needs analysis update. It is also their responsibility to bring to your attention any new products that are in the market that may suit your needs.

Should you want to engage with a professional broker, or simply to find out the benefits of using a broker as opposed to dealing direct, then contact Insurance Zone so that we can refer you to one of our authorised brokers in your area.