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  • Tips and ideas to look after your money: How to deal with identity document theft, and what your rights are in insurances.

    Hints and tips for Cash and ATMS: Credit and Lease Agreements: Investments and long term Insurance: Comments: 
    Short term  or household/ car insurance
      Identity Fraud

    Hints and tips for Cash and ATMS:

    • Never use your date of birth as a pin number for an ATM card. If a thief gets your card and ID book, or driver's license he will have your pin number too.
    • Mark your bank card with a bright nail varnish or permanent marker. That way when you retrieve your card from a ATM you can see at a glance that it is yours.
    • Always write " not transferable" on your cheque and the full details of the payee i.e. their full names. This makes it harder to steal the cheque. Cross it as well.
    • Where possible try and transfer money into bank accounts rather than using a cheque or cash to pay accounts.
    • Money management is simple- spend less than you earn.
    • Do not throw your slip away at the ATM. Crooks obtain your account number from this. Try to have a pin number for your ATM and a different pin number for internet use.
    • Banking adjudicator is available at 011 838 0035 or email at Adjudicator@banking.org.za

    Hints and tips for Credit: and lease agreement

    • Credit agreements in  South Africa: you have five days to cancel the credit agreement, but the goods must be returned in good order.

    Hints and tips for Investments and Insurance:

    • Always check commissions- negotiate them down.
    • The practice of ongoing management fees should only happen if you are being managed. Most brokers get a fee which is ongoing for no work. Ask your broker what he or she is doing for your money and decide if you need them. Most unit trust companies will deal directly with the consumer with normal management fees only applicable.
    • Check out investments with the financial services board.  Tel 012 428 8000 or email info@fsb.co.za
    • website address is www.fsb.co.za
    • A broker must be registered, but that does not mean much. Many financial advisors have done short courses on a product and have no economic training.  Question them. If they do not have a working knowledge of international and local economics- then do not pay for advice- it is worthless.
    • Commissions can erode away at your investment- question these and negotiate.
    • Many scams are pulled that look impressive- ask yourself what you must do for the return, no one gets rich with no work. Question the market- selling to friends and family maybe a sufficient market for wealth if you are rich or have a big family. Is there a product  to sell and a market that needs it?
    • Network marketing often means you buy a product with a company at an inflated cost.

    Comments:

    2002:Sharegro gave disappointing returns over a five year period. They also ignored my phone calls to stop trading the shares  The charges were  high and a 15000 Rand investment made 6000 in five years. The sales pitch when we bought boasted that they had never returned under 25% per annum.  Our advice do not trust the salesmen unless they put the claims in writing.

    Outsurance: We have had two reports of nasty learning experiences by the taped method of reporting a loss.  Remember the insurance companies tape for their benefit not yours, so say as little as possible.  Should you have a problem and the outcome is a court action do check where you agreed to join the insurance company.

     One of our members put in a legal case against Outsurance, only to find  the summons needed to be served to  in Pretoria, where Outsurance had joined him via the phone. His lawyer, Nadia at Wright Rose and Innes in Germiston was unable to serve the summons on Outsurance. because it was outside the area jurisdiction By this time 10 months from date of claim had lapsed and the member was down a further sum of money., time and nervous irritation. The correct advice  would have been to get a Pretoria based firm to handle the case from the outset. this would also have been easier for the member who was now  based in Midrand. To serve a summons on an outside area can cost upwards of R2000. 

    On Liberty daily news letter on the 3rd September it was reported:

    .

    * Outsurance doubles earnings.
    With its model of dealing directly with customers and by passing the 15% commission to intermediaries paying off, FirstRand`s short-term insurance subsidiary, Outsurance, has reported headline earnings increasing 147% to R102.7m for the year ending June 2003, reports E-Briefs.  Gross premiums surpassed the R1bn mark with the underwriting result doubled to R61.7m, however, the efficiency ratio - based on expenditure as a percentage of net premium income - declined from 31.8% to 24.8%. And the claims ratio - a measure of claims as a percentage of net premium income, although increasing 3% to 57%, is still below the industry average. Outsurance CEO, Willem Roos said the company also paid R11.2m in Outbonuses to clients and commenced insurance cover for small and medium sized businesses.
     

     

    Hints and tips for short term or household insurance:

    • No claim bonuses are often a selling phase. Be careful of companies offering substantial sums of money back, this can mean they will cut costs on claims.
    • Find out where the insurance company is phoning from. A member found that he had joined Outsurance in a Pretoria based office, although he was resident in Johannesburg area and thought he was phoning a local number. Try to join a company in your area- it makes it easier if you need to phone or serve a summons.
    • When dealing with insurers try not to use a phone call method to report the loss. Tell them you wish to make a written statement and submit this via email or fax keeping a copy of everything for your records. If the company does not want written reports find a new insurer. Insurance companies such as Outsurance use only recorded calls and this can mean. you have no record in the event of a dispute of what was said. 
    • When shopping for insurance go and speak to as many people as possible. Cheap insurance can often cost a fortune. A good idea is to approach windscreen replacement companies and panel beaters, ask which companies they will not do business with, avoid those companies.
    • If your car is stolen you may suffer additional loss, read the fine print of your policy. Some insurers charge a  premium if a approved antitheft device is not fitted.
    • Tyres are often used as an excuse not to pay out after an accident, ensure your tread is good and tyre pressure checked regularly. Insurers often will pay pro rata when replacing a tyre- Question this if a tyre must be replaced. Make sure you know how much your tyre will cost if the panel beaters replace it. Reports of a R250 tyre costing R1000 have been received by us.
    • Electricity could cost you dear. Many insurances such as AA state that appliances must be fitted with an approved antisurge plug. There are in line plugs which an electrician can fit onto your incoming municipal earth and neutral lines. These will cost around R80 to R100 at an electrical wholesaler. 
    • Review your insurance needs each year, do not be scared to change policies, companies and ask questions.
    • Keep all records of car services and spares bought. In the event of a claim these can be used to prove the car was in good condition. Try and keep all receipts of big buy items such as TVs and hifis after the guarantee has expired as proof of ownership and purchase. Photographs also bear good witness to ownership. Recording model numbers is an excellent idea. 
    • Insurers will often refuse to entertain a claim without forced entry. Make sure you lock your doors.
    • The Ombudsman is contactable at 011 726 8900 or fax 726 5501. You will have a minimum of a three month wait for his decision.

    Identity fraud- what to do if you ID goes missing

    • Contact the SA Fraud Prevention Service (www.safps.org.za) and the fraud division of the major credit bureaus. Tell them to put a fraud alert in your file and that creditors must be instructed to call you before opening or changing account. Order copies of your credit reports from the credit bureaus. .
    • Check these reports carefully and report any strange accounts immediately. Do this by speaking to someone in the security or fraud division and always follow this up with a letter, retaining proof of postage/faxing/ emailing.
    • Close accounts that have been tampered with and open new ones with Personal Identification Codes and passwords remember to use something only you can know, not birthdates or the last four digits of your phone number, or your maiden name.
    • Report your identity theft to a police station and get proof of this. Case numbers and a copy of the police report, this way you can prove your loss if neccessary.

    Weights and Measures