Sunday, June 23, 2024

BIC, customer fight over car panel beater

The Botswana Insurance Company and one of its clients are headed for a showdown as the former’s client accuses it of denying him the right to choose panel beaters of their own choice.

Sunday Standard is in possession of one of the correspondence between BIC and one of its clients, Mogolodi Sentsho, who has instructed Kambai Attorneys to force BIC to honour its agreement as per the contract.

Sentsho is the owner of a VW minibus, ensured under BIC which on October 2012 was involved in a collision with another car. According to the Police Report, the driver of the other car was the sole cause of the collision.

Sentsho then lodged a claim with BIC for indemnity of the damages to the insured mini bus. But BIC informed Sentsho that it does not do business with his preferred repair. But he says he wanted a repair who will do a thorough job since, to his knowledge, the repair in question was the only certified bearer of the mini bus in question.

According to papers from Sentsho’s Lawyers, BIC informed him that they will pay the money directly to him and he will deal with the repairer. But Sentsho’s lawyers say the fact that BIC does not do business with the repairer of his choice should not be an impediment for the insurance company in fulfilling its contractual obligations to him.

The repairer in question has since November 29 completed the body repairs and the mini bus is ready for collection. BIC was duly notified of this development in order to effect payment but it has to date refused or neglected making payment in breach of its obligation under contract of insurance.

The lawyers says the reason for the delay in processing payment for the release of the mini bus is allegedly because the insurers assessor omitted to discharge his mandate properly. They say their client cannot be prejudiced due to the omissions or negligence of the insurer’s agent.

“You are therefore given until close of business on the 4th December 2012 to have effected payment, failing which we hold strict instructions to institute an urgent application with the High Court and we shall seek, amongst others, cost against BIC in the punitive client scale,” state Kambai Attorneys.

But BIC is not taking the matter lying down. Replying, BIC Claims Manager, Ndawana Mosenya, says that they cover events that are clearly defined and specific in the policy.

According to Mosenya, BIC does not have the Police report that the other car driver was the sole cause of the accident.

“We have no knowledge of any approved panel beater for VW vehicle in Botswana. If there is, we require you to provide proof. Not in dispute; but pursuant upon the claim being payable or the client having legitimate claim where the client chooses to repair the vehicle at their proffered repairer, it is a custom that BIC pays the amount directly to the client ,” states Mosenya.

Mosenya says prior to November 29, they made an offer to pay Sentsho directly. “It is custom that this settlement proposal must be agreed and signed before client makes any arrangement with his preferred repairer so that he is advised of what he will receive from insurance as compared to what his preferred panel beater intends to profit from the job,” explained Mosenya.

Mosenya expressed regret that Sentsho decided to authorise a penal beater of his choice to repair his vehicle without knowing how much it would cost; he refused to sign the attached offer.

“Be it as it may, our offer still stands, but if we do not have response within three days from the date of this letter, we shall withdraw the offer and hence shall be absolved of any liabilities,” said Mosenya.

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