The Botswana Insurance Company (BIC) has been reported to the Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority for alleged “unethical and illegal conduct.”
This is the latest in a growing backlash against the insurance company’s decision to violate customers’ rights to take their vehicles to panel beaters of their choice.
In a hard hitting letter to BIC claims manager and copied to Managing Director, Dziki Nganunu, Bolele Attorneys, who are acting for one of the aggrieved clients, stated that “by copy of this letter, the Chief Executive Officer of the Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority is hereby given official notice of our client’s complaint against your unethical and illegal conduct”.
Another local law firm acting on behalf of an aggrieved customer who is also a partner in the law firm has also filed an official complaint with the insurance company.
At the heart of the dispute is a recent agreement by the insurance company which scales back customers’ benefits and is being forced on panel beaters. BIC recently signed a new service level agreement with panel beaters binding them to use second hand parts for vehicles older than three years. There were fears among some BIC customers, especially with vehicles that are on a five-year motor plan that the new agreement may clash with manufacturers warranty standards.
Panel beaters who have not signed the agreement have been closed out of the BIC panel of panel beaters and clients are being denied the choice of picking them as their preferred panel beaters.
In the letter, which has been copied to the industry regulatory authority, Bolele Attorneys point out that the policy that their clients signed with BIC “does not preclude her from getting her motor vehicle repaired by a service provider of choice but further does not entitle you to dictate to her where to take her vehicle for repairs”.
“In fact, a point further supported by documents from yourselves attached hereto for ease of reference, where a client of yours insists on the repairs to their motor vehicle being carried out by their preferred service provider you are liable to either authorize as per the assessed amount or settle the claim on a cash in lieu of repairs basis.”
Bolele Attorneys further state that their client “is at loss as to why you will not allow her to use her service provider of choice even though same is her right as a policy holder”.
A number of BIC clients have told the Sunday Standard that their cars have been languishing at the insurers assessment centre for more than a month because BIC will not allow them to take their vehicles to panel beaters of their choice.
Another insurance broker told Sunday Standard that they are inundated with complaints from clients who are unhappy that the BIC is refusing them to take their vehicles to their preferred panel beaters.