Momentum pays out in another case
- Posted by Roger Hendricks
- On 12/07/2018
- 0 Comments
- Hannes Combrink, Inselin Restance, life insurance, life insurance claims, non disclosure, non-disclosures, repudiated claim, sunday times, Wendy Knowler
Sunday Times 25 Nov 2018 By Wendy Knowler and Suthentira Govender
● Centurion mother-of-three Mrs Hendricks had not met Durban widow Denise Ganas. But on Thursday night Hendricks said a special prayer of thanks for the woman whose David and Goliath battle with Momentum ended her own seven-year fight with the insurance company.
Barely a month after Ganas’s husband, Nathan, was killed during a botched hijacking outside their Shallcross, Durban, home in March last year, the widow began her 20month fight with the insurance giant for repudiating the R2.4m life-cover claim.
Momentum said Nathan Ganas had not disclosed raised blood-sugar levels at the time of signing the contract in 2014.
Denise Ganas’s struggle ended on Tuesday when Momentum — following a social media backlash — agreed to pay.
On Thursday — following a six-year battle for her payout — Hendricks received a similar call.
Her father, Hannes Combrink, 55, committed suicide on January 13 2012.Several months later she received an e-mail from the ombudsman for long-term insurance, telling her the organisation had sided with Momentum in rejecting the family’s claim on her father’s life policy because of material nondisclosure.
Two years before Combrink took his life, he had taken out a “special offer” life policy with Momentum, naming Hendricks as the sole beneficiary.
“It was to protect my mom, who became disabled in her 30s due to multiple sclerosis, and was unable to drive or deal with financial matters,” Hendricks said.
“My dad’s sudden death was traumatising, but we took comfort from the knowledge that the R3.2m paid from his policy would cover my mom’s medical and living costs for the rest of her life.”
But Momentum rejected Hendricks’s claim because of material medical nondisclosure, as in the Ganas matter.
“It arose from a single appointment with a doctor when my dad first moved to Klerksdorp, which resulted in a ‘diagnosis’ of insulin resistance,” Hendricks said. He was prescribed the drug Glucophage but never took it, she said.
“When my dad was taking out the Momentum policy he didn’t think anything of that one appointment; he never saw that doctor again.
“Unfortunately Momentum thought otherwise.”
Combrink was an insurance broker who worked with Momentum for about 30 years, being recognised as one of the company’s top two brokers at one point.Hendricks, who was pregnant with her third son at the time of her father’s death, contested Momentum’s decision.
After the Sunday Times took up the case earlier this week, Momentum’s head of claims, Paddy Padayachee, said the company had decided to pay the claim.He later sent an e-mail to the family, confirming that Momentum would pay Hendricks the R3.2m claim plus R1.4m interest, totalling R4.6m.Momentum did not give a reason “After the Sunday Times took up the case earlier this week, Momentum’s head of claims, Paddy Padayachee, said the company had decided to pay the claim. He later sent an e-mail to the family, confirming that Momentum would pay Hendricks the R3.2m claim plus R1.4m interest, totalling R4.6m.Momentum did not give a reason for the about-turn on its decision in the Combrink matter.
The insurance company acknowledged that the “heightened public awareness” created by the Ganas case had led to it receiving requests from other clients to review their claims that had been declined.
“I don’t have words,” Hendricks said. “It feels like I’m dreaming. I’d long ago accepted that we’d never get a cent, but now I’ll be able to give my mom everything she needs.”
She credited Denise Ganas for the role she had played. “I feel for her great loss and pray that through her accomplishment she finds peace.”
Then she broke the news to her mother. “She started crying when she realised that this chapter of our lives has come to an end,” Hendricks said.
On Thursday, Ganas finally received the payout she had fought for. Momentum had agreed to pay an amount equal to the death benefit (limited to a maximum of R3m) in the case of violent crime, regardless of previous medical history.“We will consider all past repudiated claims that meet the criteria of our new guaranteed ex-gratia payment,” Momentum Life CEO Johann le Roux told the Sunday Times.
“We are identifying clients who were impacted in this way and we will contact their families to arrange payment. The guarantee will apply immediately to all our life cover clients.”
Now Ganas, a mother of two, faces a new dilemma: whether to leave the family home to start anew or continue living in the house where Nathan Ganas was riddled with bullets while trying to protect her from five armed hijackers.But she also wants closure on her husband’s killers.
“I’m totally overwhelmed by everything that has happened. I think I would be 110% better if this investigation was finalised.
“Every door I turned to just shut in my face. It’s been one thing after another. But I refused to give up, because Nathan deserved justice.”
Police have made no arrests in connection with the Ganas murder.