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When Should My Broker Fight For Me?

Should my sectional title insurance broker ever fight for me?  Yes, especially when the claim rejection is unjust or unfair. The key is whether or not the claim was fairly handled and if the insurer was correct in making that decision.

We think that a good broker will check each and every claim rejection carefully, at advisor level, to ensure that the broker or advisor himself is confident that the decision was correct. Once satisfied that the decision was fair and correct, the letter of rejection or advice received from the insurer should be sent to the insured as soon as possible.

If the decision by the insurer is to reject the claim and the broker feels that there is an argument in favour of the insured, the broker should immediately engage with the insurer to understand the thoughts behind their decision.  If the broker can’t negotiate payment or get the insurer to change their position, the broker should immediately advise the body corporate (managing agent or trustees) so no delays are experienced. The rejection letter should be delivered without delay but the broker should advise the insured of their rights and assist the client (insured body corporate) with their response. The broker is the body corporate’s advisor as well as an agent for the insured and thus his expertise should be trusted, unbiased and considered as valued input by both the insurer and insured.

I feel very strongly that a good advisor will stick to what is fair and right rather than try to bully a claim through. The advisor (broker) needs to be taken seriously by all parties concerned and not seen as just the ankle biter for the insured.

Sectional title insurance is one area of our financial services sector which is very fair and stable, and can mostly be trusted.  Ultimately, the client (the insured) has many layers of protection. Insurers all have to subscribe to TCF (treating customers fairly), certain principles agreed and imposed on them by the FSB (Financial Services Board). Besides this, the Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance is available for a complaints about unfair claims.

Over and above this, sectional title legislation is very clear on what should be covered.  Brokers should be aware of the legislation and provide annual written advice in respect of the needs and products selected. If a broker has erred here, i.e. a loss or rejection flows as a result of poor advice in respect of product selection or needs, a complaint levelled against the broker can be made.

Managing agents have an important role to play here, particularly when dealing with owners and representing the body corporate. The policy needs to be managed and trustees coached on all aspects of managing the policy and negotiating the correct premium, excess, premium rates and claims. A good managing agent and a good broker will work closely together to achieve the best outcomes for the client. Sometimes this means standing up and fighting for a claim or more commonly, coaching trustees and owners diplomatically as to which claims are fair and which are not.

In a previous article, we dealt with what one’s rights are when a claim is rejected. Click here to read the article.


Author : Mike Addison

Contact Addsure – The Leaders in Sectional Title Insurance – to get fit and proper advice from advisors who understand sectional title. Contact us in Johannesburg on (011) 704-3858; in Durban on (031) 459-1795 and in Cape Town on (021) 551-5069