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On Wednesday, Sifiso Mtshali’s niece and aunt took his corpse into an Old Mutual office in a bid to get payment for a claim by providing a macabre but effective “proof of death”.

A video of the women carrying the body inside a bag went viral on social media (scroll down to watch it but be warned – it’s not for sensitive viewers).

Old Mutual says it had paid the claim by the time the family arrived at its offices with the remains of their relative.

We have payment runs at set times. That funeral policy payment went through to the beneficiary’s Capitec account, for urgent clearing, before the family arrived with the body, but the SMS only reflected on her phone shortly afterwards. That made them believe that we only paid because they arrived at the branch with the body, which is unfortunate.

Tabby Tsengiwe, Chief Communications Officer - Old Mutual

(Read a detailed account on TimesLIVE: We are truly, truly sorry - Old Mutual)

The niece lodged a claim in the afternoon on 11 November; Old Mutual told her she would get paid within 48 hours.

However, the claim was sent to head office for assessment, and Old Mutual did not indicate how long it would take.

The family is poverty-stricken – they paid the policy premiums with a child grant - and any delay in payment would’ve been devastating.

To add insult to injury; Old Mutual staff members allegedly told the family to borrow money for the funeral while they wait for the claim assessment.

In 2018, funeral policy-related grievances made up 41% of all complaints made to the Long-Term Insurance Ombudsman.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

The problem was they couldn’t tell them when it was going to be paid out and they got desperate…

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Whitfield also spoke to Caroline da Silva of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority is there. You don’t need to resort to such desperate measures. You can call us and let us ensure they treat you fairly…

Caroline da Silva, Financial Sector Conduct Authority

Listen to the interviews in the audio below.

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This article first appeared on 702 : We paid before the family arrived with the body – Old Mutual

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