Insurance

South African insurance companies are watching what you post on social media

South Africans should be wary of what they publish on social media as their posts are being tracked by insurance companies.

Vera Nagtegaal, executive head of Hippo.co.za, says people are very open on social media without thinking about the reach or implications of what they are posting.

“Insurance companies are increasingly using social media as another avenue for investigating claims, and the information that they find there can be damning, especially if it goes against the information in the client’s claim statement,” she said.

Nagtegaal said that while she is not aware of any clauses prohibiting posts about going on holiday on social media – an act which is seen as an open invitation to criminals – it is something that it is under consideration by the insurance industry.

“There is quite a bit of chatter around this in the industry at the moment, but nothing like this has been included in the contracts of insurance/terms and conditions – at least for Hippo partners,” said Nagtegaal.

“We cannot confirm/comment on this for any of the other insurers outside of Hippo,” she stressed.

Rejecting claims

Nagetgaal pointed to a South African case in which a woman made a claim for repairs to her BMW after hitting a tree, stating that she had been the driver of the vehicle.

However, her son posted a photo of the car after the accident, saying “crashed mum’s BMW after a night on the town, but don’t worry, it’s insured.”

The insurer subsequently rejected the claim.

“Your first instinct is to think that the son did something wrong by posting about the incident on social media, but in fact, the mother also did the wrong thing by submitting a dishonest claim,” said Nagtegaal.

“People should be careful of what they post on social media, but at the same time, they should be honest with their insurers.”

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