HOW THE CONFUSION AROSE
The criticism by Charles Pillai, the Ombud for Financial Services Providers, about the ambiguity in insurers’ requirements for vehicle anti-theft devices relates to a complaint over an insurance claim for a 1995 VW Jetta Cli.
When Martinus de Jong of Gauteng insured his Jetta with Santam, one of the policy requirements was that De Jong install a gearlock approved by the Vehicle Security Association of South Africa. He later switched his insurance to Mutual & Federal, and this policy required that the vehicle be fitted with a gearlock approved by the Accredited Bureau for Security within 14 days of the cover commencing.
De Jong did not have a gearlock installed, and he told Pillai that his broker had not informed him of the conditions of the Mutual & Federal policy.
After De Jong’s car was stolen and Mutual & Federal rejected his claim, Pillai asked the South African Insurance Association (Saia) for its opinion on the Jetta’s factory-fitted security system.
Saia consulted the vehicle security system (VSS) list (see “How the vehicle security list works”) and found that the 1995 Jetta Cli was not on it.
However, Volkswagen confirmed that the security system in the 1995 Jetta Cli was the same as the one in the 1997 Jetta Cli, which was on the VSS list, and that hence the system in De Jong’s car was VSS-compliant.
Pillai said this apparent inconsistency between the insurers, an insurance body and a manufacturer compounded De Jong’s confusion over whether or not his car’s security system was sufficient for insurance purposes.