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S African insurers blamed for CI smear campaign

A South African ombudsman has accused rival insurers of conducting a smear campaign against Discovery Life by spreading rumours that it has received hundreds of complaints about its critical-illness product.

The Ombudsman for Long-Term Insurance in South Africa says rivals have been claiming that Discovery Life has been swamped by complaints relating to severity-based payouts.

Deputy ombudsman Jennifer Preiss says: “Rival insurers have put out rumours that Discovery Life has had multiple complaints against it. This is completely untrue and we are not inundated with complaints.”

The incident has sparked interest in the UK because Prudential’s flexible protection plan is based on Discovery Life’s product and includes severity-based payouts. Concerns were raised that the UK’s Financial Ombudsman Service could face similar complaints.

But the South African Ombudsman says it has received “far less than 100 complaints” about Discovery’s CIC policies with severity-based payouts since the products were launched four years ago.

Prudential head of proposition and market strategy Paul Cowman says: “We have tried to get around any potential problems by listing every single condition and the payout a customer will receive for each severity type. Other companies are just trying to look for reasons why it will not work.”

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