Family plans to take Old Mutual to court over funeral policy claim
A spokesperson for the Mtshali family, Ntombenhle Mhlongo – who was seen among the family members in the video - said they felt undermined by Old Mutual because of their social status.
DURBAN - A KwaZulu-Natal family that took a relative’s body into Old Mutual’s offices in KwaDukuza said they were planning to take the company to court.
In a video that has gone viral on social media, two family members could be seen taking the body to the insurer’s offices in a bid to demand payment of a claim. Family members said they were ill-treated by staff and rudely told to borrow money to bury their loved one.
WATCH: Corpse taken to Old Mutual office as proof of death
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Mtshali family, Ntombenhle Mhlongo – who was seen among the family members in the video - said they felt undermined by Old Mutual because of their social status.
“We lodged the claim with Old Mutual last Monday and after a few days, we went to their offices for a follow-up, but they told us they were still assessing the claim despite our pleas for assistance,” Mhlongo said.
Mhlongo said the delay in payment of a claim by the insurer had added to the pain the family was feeling during the grieving period.
“Old Mutual told us to borrow money elsewhere and we asked them where are we going to borrow the cash because we are all unemployed at home. I then suggested to them that they should borrow us the money and they would then deduct their money once the claim is concluded, but they told us about the possibility of the claim being unsuccessful,” she said.
[WATCH] Ntombenhle Mhlongo, sister of the deceased Sifiso Mtshali explains why the family had to take her brother’s body to #OldMutual offices. She says staff at the KwaDukuza offices told her family to ‘borrow money’ to bury her brother. @NkoRaphael pic.twitter.com/s5nJghdECf— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 20, 2019
Meanwhile, Mhlongo said they wanted Old Mutual to pay for a cleansing ceremony following the unpleasant experience with the company.
“We will go to the police to open a case and we will do whatever it takes because this incident has left us hurt,” she said.
The insurer said it was willing to enter into talks over the cleansing ceremony for the Mtshali family. Old Mutual spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe said the company was willing to listen to the family’s demands.
“We will have our own ongoing direct engagement with the family. They have had an unpleasant experience for which we are profusely apologetic,” Tsengiwe said.
Tsengiwe said they would like to keep discussions with the family outside of the media.
In their plan to take Old Mutual to court, the family is backed by the National Association of Funeral Practitioners (Nafupa).
Nafupa’s Muzi Hlengwa said they would launch court action against Old Mutual together with the bereaved family.
“The regional manager of Old Mutual called on security to remove the family and threw them out of the office. All they wanted was to be paid their claim,” Hlengwa said.