“Your future is protected,” say an online advert on the ZSIC Life website, with a picture of a smiling dad and daughter.
Meanwhile, the state-owned insurance company is facing a barrage of complaints from clients about alleged unsatisfactory services and the failure to resolve grievances arising from flawed calculations on claims payments.
MakanDay reached out to ZISC Life for a comment and did not receive a response.
The Pensions and Insurance Authority revealed to Makanday that it has received complaints relating to delays in payment of claims by ZSIC.
The authority’s communications manager Doreen Kambanganji-Silungwe said appropriate action has been instituted to address the complaints and that a statement will be issued once these processes are concluded.
ZISC Life was first operated as a division of the Zambia State Insurance Corporation Limited (ZSIC) from 1968 to 2005.
After changes to the Insurance Act in 2005, ZSIC was split into three separate subsidiary businesses: ZSIC Limited, the holding company until April 2017; ZSIC General Insurance Limited; and ZSIC Life Limited.
ZSIC Life Limited incorporated as a company in 2008 and registered as an insurer in 1997, is a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation, a state entity. It “prides itself among the leading assurance, savings and wealth management business in its chosen markets in Zambia”.
In 2017, a social media group was created to highlight the allegedly problematic way the insurance company is handling their claims. It has many members.
One disgruntled ZSIC client, who has asked to remain anonymous, accused the company of employing evasive tactics to avoid three payouts: from the staff pension scheme of Zambia Airways, the liquidated national airline; on a retirement annuity; and on two endowment policies.
On 23 July last year, ZSIC Life sent him an email confirming settlement of his claims on the retirement annuity and the endowment policies.
In one of the client’s letters to the controller of internal audits at the finance ministry, seen by MakanDay, he complains that the payouts were much lower than the amounts he had computed, and that ZSIC Life had provided no supporting documents for its own calculations.
In a series of posts, an orphan wrote to the editor of the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail: “I am an orphan whose parent had an educational policy with Zambia State Insurance Corporation which was due for payment upon maturity in February.
“Up to now, ZSIC has failed to honour its obligation to pay … My mother had (has) been to ask for payments until she passed on in July. I have been talking to personnel concerned for some time now but to no avail.
“Most people who have policies which are due are complaining. I am appealing to ZSIC management to do something.”
Another post on the same page was from a certain Astone Banda, who asked: “How can I be helped? ZSIC Life has failed to give me back my money. I have Swift Save Plan which is a saving investment plan and made claims of 50% of my contribution on 3rd November of 2016 up to date no payment have been made.”
Parliament has also attacked ZSIC Life’s record. In a parliamentary debate in October 2009, Chishimba Kambwili, former Patriotic Front MP for the Roan Constituency, asked why ZSIC takes so long to settle claims from its customers when it has a sound financial base.
In response, then deputy minister of finance, Mulenga Kapwepwe, who had given a breakdown of how much ZSIC collects from rentals, said one should not assume that because the company collects rentals it is able to settle claims, as the two issues cannot be linked.
In 2017, parliament’s committee on parastatal bodies highlighted several faults in the company, including unsupported payments of more than K2.3 million, poor record keeping and questionable claims payments.