Our home's contents, destroyed by fire on 30 January 2011, were insured, accurately, for R 2 million with A&G. After three absurd offers, confrontations, negotiations lasting eight months and eventual threats, final payment was only R1.5 mil. Dealing with CORPRATE BULLIES A&G was the worst experience – a horrific nightmare – worse than losing our two doggy children in the fire who screamed terrifyingly as they died. Treating us like criminals and liars, A&G used every trick to swindle us. Always new, endless excuses: items never covered in terms of the contract (which we never received despite endless requests); we were over-insured; A&G suppliers can replace items at 35% less than insured values; items become cheaper over time (yet A&G automatically increases insured amount and premiums annually!); pay-out based on replacing quality items with inferior, cheap rubbish; size of house could never accommodate R 2 million's worth of possessions (yet A&G was happy to accept premiums on this sum each month!) and lastly – we wanted to enrich ourselves. A&G has stolen from us to enrich itself and pay bonuses to its staff! A&G has not honoured its legal responsibility to put us back in the same position as before the loss.
1. We were insured for R 2,012,500, an accurate account of the value of the contents of our home. The largest electrical appliance that was destroyed in the fire was a Defy 530 litre chest freezer. A&G assessor Paul Wilson was made very aware of this freezer as it posed a major health risk due to its decaying contents. He promised to remove the contents, but never did. Following complaints and threats of legal action by the local Health Department, we eventually removed the decaying matter ourselves. Furthermore, Paul Wilson intended replacing this item with a 210 litre freezer.
2. Numerous items were blatantly excluded, for no apparent reason, from the inventory we were required to submit. (Inventory used to determine initial pay-out of R 883,792.00 - only 44.2% of the original claim).
3. The value of most items was significantly reduced because Paul Wilson found replacement items of vastly inferior quality from low budget suppliers.
4. All computers and every item in our home office at the time of fire were totally excluded because these were for "business". No single computer, laptop or office item was used 100% exclusively for business purposes. (The business computer, not exclusively used for work, was saved and was never claimed for!)
5. We were in the process of refurbished and repainting our house at the time of the fire. Many of these supplies and paints were in the garage. A&G excluded these items, other paints in the garage as well as a great deal of our personal tools and equipment, because they are supposedly "for business". All business equipment and tools for the small home maintenance concern were stored elsewhere. The contents of the garage was listed on the inventory and insured accordingly.
6. We breed and show with Dachshunds and Whippets. A&G planned on paying out only half of the claim for dog food, dog supplies, grooming and show equipment, bedding, pet carrier boxes etc. because we were allegedly operating "in partnership" with another breeder who had supposedly either paid for or owned half of all our dog related possessions. Utter rubbish!
7. A&G frequently referred to the Bid or Buy website, which it used as a source to determine the value of many antiques destroyed in the fire. This website is an online auction site: people make an offer for an item which is for sale. This website cannot be used to determine the real value of items.
8. A&G offered 10% of the value of the 24-sitting Spode dinner service, other fine bone china, lead crystal glassware, silver items and a handmade Persian carpet. We obtained a quote from a supplier 2Â½ years ago and the Spode dinner service alone was valued in the vicinity of R 150,000.00. We paid the premium accordingly.
Our greatest concern, which impacted significantly on the claim, is that we never received any official policy documents. A&G should not be allowed to treat others in the same despicable manner.
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