Ian K Ramdhanie, msC,
Each week, the Guardian Angel column highlights complaints sent in by you, the consumer, and provides solutions or directs you to the appropriate resource.
Problem: Joy Robinson from Arima said she called WASA’s help line to report a leak on Cocorite Road, opposite Rodney’s Supermarket, on March 6 and April 1. She said, “About two weeks after the first call, a red arrow (long faded) was drawn near the hole. Since then, no one has shown up and the hole is getting bigger.”
Solution: Ms Robinson’s complaint was forwarded to WASA for action on April 9 and the leak was repaired the next day.
Problem: Lopinot resident Michaele Ali said, “My husband died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s on October 29, 2013. Despite financial hardships during my husband’s long illness, I had kept in place a small insurance policy with Mega Insurance to insure that I would be able to cover his funeral costs.” Ms Ali said she submitted all the information requested by the insurance company and in a letter to her, the insurance company stated that it was not awaiting further documents.
She said, “By the end of December, the claims department was telling me that they would call when the check was ready but that it may be next year because of holidays and other people involved in the review. “However, when I called in February, they said they had mailed me a letter asking for more information regarding medical treatment before his diagnosis.” Ms Ali said since mail is unpredictable in Surrey Village, she went to their Port-of-Spain offices with the requested information without receiving the letter.
“Considering that I paid these premiums on time faithfully for over ten years and that their contract states that if I had not submitted all the documentation within 90 days the policy would lapse, I feel that their inability to pay on time is immoral and possibly criminal.”
Solution: When Mega Insurance was contacted by the Guardian Angel, the claims department said while they were aware of Ms Ali’s claim they were unable to answer any questions over the phone. Ms Ali was referred to the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (OFSO) for further action. Although the OFSO was first established to investigate complaints from individuals and small businesses, in 2005, its mandate was expanded to include insurance companies.
The main objective of the OFSO is to provide fair, sound assistance to customers who are not satisfied with their financial services provider and to mediate on behalf of those who have a complaint with their institution.
The Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (OFSO) is an Agency created under the auspices of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. The ombudsman reports directly to the Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Jwala Rambarran.
The current financial services ombudsman is Suzanne Roach. The ombudsman’s office, located on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, can be contacted at 625-4835; 5028, extensions 2650/2657/2681/2685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.