- Complaints about auto insurance claims represent almost half of all disputes submitted to the Short Term Insurance Ombudsman.
- There was a 15% decrease in disputes related to driving under the influence of alcohol.
- The onus is on the insurer to prove that a driver was intoxicated.
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Nearly half of disputes between customers and insurance companies concern motor insurance, reveals the new annual report of the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance (OSTI).
The ombud’s office on Tuesday released its annual report for 2018, which showed that 48% of the nearly 10,000 complaints it received from insurance customers were about auto insurance claims. Of all automobile insurance disputes, only 18% were resolved in favor of the insured.
The majority of complaints (74%) were from customers unhappy with accidental damage claims. Warranty and mechanical failure claims were 9%, while theft and misappropriation claims were 8%, up from 9% in 2017.
The number of disputes regarding claims dismissed due to driving under the influence of alcohol has fallen sharply by 15%.
There could be a number of reasons for this, explains Ayanda Mazwi, senior deputy ombud.
There may have been fewer complaints overall, as more consumers could adopt responsible practices.
“Customers have become accustomed to booking the ‘Take me home’ service, offered by some insurers,” explains Mazwi.
Plus, the growing popularity of courier services like Uber and Bolt (formerly Taxify) may have made a difference.
The ombud’s office has also campaigned to educate consumers about their rights and obligations regarding the impact of driving under the influence of alcohol.
“The burden of proving that a driver was drunk is on the insurer. If circumstantial evidence is used, it must be strong enough to prove that the driver was intoxicated and that there was a clear link to the accident, ”says Mazwi.