A man who was ripped off a motorhome during a Trade Me sale gone wrong has had his insurance claim denied in part because the insurer says he chose to give the vehicle.
The man complained to the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO). The system does not disclose the identity of individuals who complain or the companies they complain about.
In this case, the original owner of the motorhome was covered by fire and theft liability insurance. Upon his death, the vehicle was given to his son, who changed the registration to his own name and listed it on Trade Me with a “buy it now” of $35,000.
It was purchased by a buyer who sent a screenshot of the online transaction as proof of payment and collected the motorhome.
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But when the money hadn’t arrived the next morning, the man realized the payment was fake and filed an insurance claim.
The insurer denied the claim because the policy was not in the name of the new owner and said it would not be covered anyway because the loss was the proceeds of the sale and not the vehicle.
The new owner complained because he said the loss was the theft of the motorhome.
But IFSO investigated and said the new owner voluntarily gave the motorhome to the buyer.
“Because ownership had passed to the buyer, the buyer became the new owner. The IFSO scheme believed that the evidence indicated that the loss was proceeds of sale; however, even if the loss was because, the loss was not caused by “fire, theft or unlawful conversion” This meant that there was no cover under the policy and the insurer was able to refuse the complaint.
Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens said there had been a drop in the number of complaints to her scheme in the year to June.
There were 2,847 complaint inquiries from dissatisfied consumers with their financial service providers, compared to a total of 3,626 last year. Only 10% of those resulted in 285 complaints, with more than $1.2 million paid out to consumers.
Of the inquiries, 1,827 were for general insurance matters, 419 for health, life and disability insurance products and 374 for loans.
Vehicles were the most criticized sector.
Stevens said his message to consumers buying insurance hasn’t changed over the years.
“Consumers need to be sure they are buying the coverage they need. Political exclusions and misunderstandings still attract too many people. I urge consumers to read carefully and understand what they are buying. They should ask if they are unsure what the policy does or does not cover. No question is a dumb question.
“In addition, consumers should verify their annual insurance renewal information. Insurance is not something you can change when a claim is made. What you organize initially is what you will have when you want him to respond, so you really need to know what you are buying.