Insurance firm accused of fraud

HARARE - ZB Life Assurance is embroiled in a messy wrangle with a group of policyholders, who are demanding their premiums back citing misrepresentation on the benefits of the insurance product.

The Daily News is in possession of over 50 signed letters to ZB Life, from customers wishing to terminate their policies over disgruntlement on how the company through its agents misrepresented the terms and conditions in which the policies were operating under.

The agents allegedly falsified information to customers across the country with promises of loans amounting to as much as $20 000 and opportunities to acquire housing stands.

Samuel Muvhenge of Nkayi wrote: “Your agent Cliff  Mhere sold me this policy telling me that I would get a loan of  $10 000 from ZB Bank and this policy would be the collateral for the loan.

“He said the loan would be availed soon after getting the policy document of which I heard was not true. Can I have all my premiums for 13 months amounting to about $483.73 with immediate effect .”

Other disgruntled customers also demanded back subscriptions which they had paid up for the “seed policy.”

A widow from Macheke, Catherine Satumba, said she wanted to be reimbursed as she needed it for the upkeep of her children.

Extencia Mita of Mudzi fumed: “I came here in November to cancel my policy the reason being the representative who came to our institution lied to us that we will be given housing stands but until now we have not been updated about anything.

“Secondly, I was not given any document in connection with my policy. The reason I have come back today (04-01-2013) is I have not yet been refunded my money into my account.”

ZB’s group business development executive head, Shadowsight Chiganze said the company was unaware of the complaints but will investigate and take action if any wrong doing is found to have occurred.

“We were not aware of this group of clients who are unhappy about the information that was availed to them about our life assurance product called “The Seed”.

“This policy provides affordable life assurance cover, within a period chosen by a policyholder, at very competitive premium rates,” he said.

“Our sales representatives are expected to uphold high professional and ethical standards at all times and they should explain the benefits of our policies truthfully and correctly.

“Where there is evidence of failure to do so, ZB Life Assurance will, as a matter of principle, and indeed practice, terminate any policies issued and refund all premiums paid.

“In addition, the Company will take the necessary corrective action on the agency staff who made the misrepresentations.”

Chiganze however, said the policy document could be used as security for a loan.

“ A policyholder may, with the agreement of a lender, use the policy as collateral security for a loan, provided the policyholder has satisfied any other conditions set by the lender to qualify for the loan.

“In the event of death of the policyholder before the expiry date of the policy, ZB Life will pay the policy proceeds to the lender in full or partial discharge of the debt due by the policyholder.

“The amount we pay depends on the amount of life assurance cover the policyholder applied for at inception of the policy.”

ZB Life, which changed its name from Intermarket Life Assurance Limited, is majority owned by ZB Financial Holdings Limited.

Comments (3)

This issue is quite true. I bought my policy from ZB Mutare and the agent , a lady, gave us forms claiming we would get loans from ZB Life. I filled in the form and she took it away promising that the money would come in a few weeks. She processed stop order forms and money was being deducted from my salary through my bank , Stanchart. I never got the loan and while I kept on checking, I got no response till I left my job, but they continued to deduct money from my account. I went to HQ in Harare tocheck what was going on and I was told by a gentleman there that I had been misinformed. The policy had no provision for a loan. I requested that I wanted a refund of my premiums and he said it was not possible since the policy was still valid. I left in confusion and to date I have always felt I was had by this agent and the company. Now the chickens are coming home to roost and i will pursue this issue to its finality. I was robbed and lied to and ZB must pay up or I sue them for fraud.

ben dandajena - 13 September 2013

These agents tell you when they are selling you will receive this and that or your contributions are fully withdrawable after five years, But hey i joined a policy in 2006 with Fidelity now over five years down the line i am told i must first die to claim the funds, i wonder i the principal member get a torid timne in claiming MY money how would my wife or children be treated when i am gone as they say? Someone anofari kupira zvemashuwashuwa it is daylight robbery

bright - 14 September 2013

Thank you so much for bringing light to the customers of the policy especially The Seed.I am also one the the same policy holder for the past two years now but what exactly the agent explained to me about the policy is 100% different.She told me that if I maintain my policy in six months I will secure a loan from any zb bank at any amount below 20000 dollars provided I remain their client I only become suspicious about this business because every time I visited the office they will tell me they are busy ,the manager is out but I am a customer I want to know what is going on.I made a chance to visit one of the zb banks on inquiries about the loans and was told that they don't work to the an extent of giving loans.I was impressed when I saw your article about the same matter and my request is to know what happened about the refund as I am in the process of terminating my policy .

Hyssein Maman - 10 February 2014

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