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Clientèle reveals COVID-19 actions to safeguard its employees

Clientèle reveals COVID-19 actions to safeguard its employees

With the COVID-19 infection rate continuing to climb across South Africa, Clientèle today provided an update on how the business is supporting and protecting its staff.

 

“Our staff are extremely important to us and we have adhered to all health and safety requirements regarding COVID-19” says Basil Reekie, Group Managing Director of Clientèle. “From the onset of COVID-19, we have, as a company, taken the implementation of all regulations very seriously and have gone above and beyond to minimise the spread of infection and to do our utmost to protect our employees and their families. Where possible and practical we have also allowed, facilitated and encouraged staff to work remotely from home,” he adds.

Clientèle established a COVID-19 Committee who meets regularly and looks at the challenges of COVID-19 and how this affects staff members. In terms of the measures being taken, Clientèle has required staff members to self-quarantine immediately should they test positive for COVID-19, and have protocols in place for contact tracing of any positive or suspected cases.

“The company makes suitable arrangements for the COVID-19 testing of all employees, who are deemed ‘high-risk’ based on their potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus while at work, and accordance with the risk-rating criteria detailed in the relevant guidelines issued by the Department of Health to Essential Service Providers,” explains Reekie.

Screening of both employees and visitors who arrive at the office park is carried out every day, while the business regularly deep cleans the premises and provides SABS-approved fogging of the corporate office buildings. In addition, COVID-19 managers have been appointed for each area/department with the responsibility of ensuring that all rules and procedures are followed and escalating all positive cases as soon as it comes to their attention to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Various additional controls have been instituted. These include, but are not limited to:
• Instituting shift working for their sales force at the office park to better facilitate social distancing;
• Providing face masks to all their employees, along with additional face shields to employees working in the call centres and a personal hand sanitiser;
• Hand sanitisers have been made available throughout the office park and especially at high-risk areas like bathrooms, printers, vending machines and kitchens;
• Within the kitchens, there is no sharing of utensils allowed while all staff have to wash their cutlery, and only two staff members are allowed inside the kitchen at a time;
• Three dedicated nurses onsite;
• A dedicated COVID-19 email where concerns and suggestions can be raised; and
• Online COVID-19 training that had to be completed by all employees as well as all new inductees.

Clientèle is aware that the pandemic and ensuing lockdown are tough on employees, especially with regards to their mental health. Consequently, counselling services are offered to all employees through The Careways Group and the business has made several platforms available for staff to raise any queries or questions during this trying time and encourages staff to use these platforms.

“We have been in constant communication with our staff, providing transparent updates on COVID-19 cases at the office, as well as providing tips and rules around safeguarding our environment and, as the country enter the peak of infections, we continue to remind our employees of the importance of following all COVID-19 guidelines, policies and precautions. As the infection rate starts to decline, we have to continue to be extra careful as we know that the risks remain high.

We do all of this because the health and safety of our staff always come first and we continue to do our best to support them during these unprecedented times,” concludes Reekie.

Message from Clientèle Group Managing Director Basil Reekie

Safeguarding your world during lockdown

Dear Clients, Employees, Shareholders, Partners and the IFA Network,

As the Group Managing Director of Clientèle, I wanted to reassure you that Clientèle is there for you during this time of the hard-hitting COVID-19 pandemic. As an organisation focused on safeguarding our clients’ worlds with compassion we are of the view that the time has come for all of us to stand together and join forces to overcome this devastating pandemic. I hope that you, your loved ones, and your colleagues are safe and well. I can honestly say that I never imagined (in my worst nightmares) that I would experience a pandemic like COVID-19 which has had such a drastic impact on how we live and work. Now, more than ever, we must do the right things and be prepared to take steps beyond what we are typically used to doing in order to safeguard each other.

Clientèle are fully on board and support the Government in its effort to fight the devastating effects of COVID-19. We are extremely fortunate to have a President whom we can trust to lead our nation through the COVID-19 crisis and the resultant economic crisis.

While this means that it will no longer be business as usual, we’ve put measures in place to minimise disruptions and ensure that our business continues to run smoothly so that we can keep providing you with the peace of mind you deserve. We’re striving for as little disruption as possible over this period and ask for your understanding and patience in the unlikely event that our service levels are not maintained at their usual levels.

In response to COVID-19, we have also adapted to the changing digital environment very quickly, and our services will continue to be accessible to clients digitally, and many of our digital offerings have been enhanced. We have a robust action plan in place, and we have implemented specific precautions and digital processes across the group to help ensure our business continuity.

While I am sure that you all understand the seriousness of the situation and the impact that it can have on any business, I would like to assure you that Clientèle’s intention is to come out of this stronger than ever, building ourselves back up to the business that we were before COVID-19. We know that this is possible. Core to our values and everything that we do, is Treating our Employees Well, Treating our Clients Well, taking care of our business partners and IFA Network, and making our shareholders proud. We will continue with this in mind while being fair, realistic and cautious.

We have made a number of changes to benefit and safeguard our clients and staff during this time. In particular, we have implemented the following:

  • Removed waiting periods on our Funeral products for COVID-19 claims;
  • Enhanced Clientèle Rewards by including more virtual benefits in the rewards program;
  • Enhanced the functionality of the Clientèle App to allow more self service functionality via this digital channel;
  • Included a COVID-19 hotline for Clientèle Rewards members;
  • Offered certain Clientèle Rewards benefits for free to policyholders during this difficult time;
  • We instituted shift working for our sales force at the Office Park in order to ensure social distancing;
  • Where possible (and practical) we have allowed and encouraged staff to work from home;
  • We have provided face masks to all employees and additional face shields to those working in our call centres;
  • We have enforced social distancing for all staff. In the call centres this has meant that staff only sit at every second desk;
  • Hot desking has been completely stopped since the onset of COVID-19;
  • Hand sanitizers have been made available throughout the Office Park;
  • The Office Park has been closed to the general public, apart from one walk in centre which has a separate entrance to the rest of the Office Park;
  • Deep cleaning and fogging of the various areas is performed regularly (about twice a week) and this is also done (by a certified external supplier) for any area where a staff member tests positive for COVID-19;
  • We have instituted random COVID-19 testing of our staff;
  • We have plans and procedures in place to deal with contact tracing when a staff member tests positive for COVID-19;
  • We continued to pay all our staff their basic salaries throughout Lockdown levels 4 and 5 despite the fact that majority of our staff were unable to work during much of this period. Being an essential services company we had a small core group of staff working throughout this period;
  • Regular cleaning of all surfaces happens throughout the day; and;
  • Screening of people who arrive at the Office Park is carried out each and every day (including the taking of temperatures and asking relevant health questions).

In closing, let me quote our President’s “This is a message of hope, of recovery and of rebirth. We shall recover. We shall overcome. May God bless South Africa [and Clientèle] and protect her people.”

Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Responsible.

All the best

 

Giving your loved one a dignified send-off during the lockdown.

Saying goodbye to a loved one during the Lockdown: What you need to know about funerals:

6 April 2020, Johannesburg – Funerals are by nature a particularly sad time for families and loved ones of the deceased, but in the era of the COVID-19, which entails a National Lockdown, limits to the numbers of people at social gatherings and strict social distancing measures, they can be especially difficult.
“Given the strain that South Africans are already under as a result of the National Lockdown, we thought we would assist in some small way, by providing clarity around the regulations and restrictions and insurance processes surrounding the arranging of funerals during this challenging time,” says Basil Reekie, Group Managing Director of Clientèle.
According to the latest regulations put in place by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), a permit needs to be obtained by anyone wishing to travel between provinces or metropolitan and district areas to attend a funeral or cremation. People who qualify to apply for said permit include; the spouse or partner of the deceased, children (including children-in-law) of the deceased, parents (including stepparents) of the deceased, siblings, grandparents, and other people closely affiliated to the deceased.
Applicants will require a death certificate or a certified copy of the death certificate to obtain a permit or, if a death certificate is not yet available, the applicant would need to make a sworn affidavit in the prescribed form. Permits are obtainable from a Magistrate or the station commander of a police station. If the burial or cremation is not on the same day and the travelling attendee needs to stay over, please note that he or she may not do so for a period of more than 48 hours. Additionally, he / she may not stay with a relative or friend but must instead stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house and will be required to present their permit to the owner/manager of the hotel, lodge or guest house.
The latest regulations also stipulate limits on the number of people who may attend funerals and/or memorial services.  The limit is currently set at 50 or less attendees. Also be aware that night vigils are still prohibited.
With regards to funeral planning, Reekie provides some tips for a smoother process:
  • Obtain the death certificate from Home Affairs which will be needed for permits, insurance pay outs etc;
  • Lodge an insurance claim with the deceased person’s insurance policy provider;
  • Ensure limits of crowds in line with the restrictions and regulations;
  • At all times throughout the process, be sure to comply with all relevant health and safety guidelines published by government and try to limit unnecessary personal contact and adhere to social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, Clientèle has taken proactive steps by waiving waiting periods on all (new and existing) funeral policies, for any valid claim resulting from COVID-19. This means clients are immediately covered, upon payment of their premiums. The waiving of waiting periods for COVID-19 on funeral policies are already effective, and will remain in effect for policies sold until 30 April 2020, or until a later date that Clientèle will determine. Clientèle’s funeral cover for COVID-19 will pay within 24 hours after submission of a valid claim.

“As an essential service provider, Clientèle will continue to service our clients throughout the National Lockdown period, however, this is being done by skeleton staff to ensure that we protect our staff. Rest assured that claims will continue to be processed timeously as it is a priority for us to continue to pay out valid claims,” concludes Reekie.

Clientèle COVID-19 Benefit Press Release

Clientèle waives waiting periods on all its funeral policies, for valid claims related to COVID-19

Clientèle is taking proactive steps to safeguard its clients’ worlds with compassion, by waiving waiting periods on all (new and existing) funeral policies, for any valid claim resulting from COVID-19.
This means clients are immediately covered, upon payment of their premiums. Clientèle will pay out any valid funeral policy claims related to COVID-19, even during the first few months of the policy. The waiving of waiting periods for COVID-19 on funeral policies is effective immediately, and will remain in effect for policies sold until 30 April 2020, or until a later date that Clientèle will determine.
According to Basil Reekie, Group Managing Director, Clientèle this initiative reflects Clientèle’s belief in the power of a collective effort to minimise the impact of COVID-19. “As a company there are a number of things we can do and that said we need to focus on our sphere of influence – insurance.  We are committed to joining the people of our country to mitigate the COVID-19 impact, as far as possible” Reekie explained, “and the best way for us to do that for our customers is by reducing any additional stress associated with COVID-19.”
The waiting period waiver automatically applies to any new funeral policy. For existing clients who have policies that still fall within the waiting period, the waiting period will also be waived, provided that all premiums remain paid and up to date. Any new policy taken out to cover a person who has been tested positively for COVID-19, before taking out the policy, will remain subject to the standard 6 months waiting period.
While the recent arrival of COVID-19 in South Africa is no cause for panic, it does mean that everyone in the country has a responsibility to be extra vigilant about good personal hygiene, and to make an effort to protect themselves from situations in which they could be at risk of contracting the virus.
The experiences of other countries, where the virus is at a more advanced stage, demonstrate that a unified effort is the best approach to limiting the spread of COVID-19.  What this means is that if every person needs to take greater care to wash their hands often, try to avoid contact with people or objects as much as possible in public, refrain from traveling to high-risk regions or countries, monitor their bodies for any signs of flu-like symptoms, and visit a doctor or clinic as soon as they begin to feel ill. If South Africans follow the guidelines developed by the World Health Organisation, they can form a united front to be more effective in combating the spread of the virus.
“We will continue to put our collective energy to work towards making a positive difference to the lives of our clients, and others in the communities we serve by taking relevant actions where this is within our own power”, Reekie concluded.
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Clientèle stands out amongst the best in Ombud Report

No company likes to talk about complaints but they are a reality of doing business. How they are handled is the difference between a positive and negative reputation.

Recently, the Long-Term Insurance Ombudman released its 2017 Annual Report, a summary of its efforts in complaints resolution and followed with keen interest by financial services providers and clients alike. During the reporting period (2017), 5,435 chargeable complaints were received (up from 5,284 in 2016) of which 3,371 were finalised.
In comparison to its size and market share, Clientèle was amongst the lowest contributors to these figures – a fact Clientèle is especially proud of. Testament to the company’s adherence to a strong compliance culture and Treating Clients Well is that 84.3% of Clientèle’s decisions were upheld by the Ombud in 2017, which is the second highest amongst all major long-term insurers.
Henry Dladla, Clientèle Client Services Executive, says, “We have been working very hard to ensure client satisfaction at every point in the client experience from the moment that a policy is sold until the client claims and beyond. The success that we have achieved in handling queries is the result of the combined efforts of multiple teams in Clientèle and a corporate culture that strongly emphasises customer service. Our clients have multiple channels to escalate any queries and this ensures that we make the best possible decision.”
This sentiment is also shared by Basil Reekie, Clientèle Group Managing Director. “As our name implies, we are nothing without our valued clients. Thank you for allowing us to safeguard your world with compassion. Our quest to improve our service will never end.”

Clientèle Proudly Launches the Estate Preservation Plan

Estate Preservation Plan

Did you know that approximately 850 new Estate matters are filed with the Master of the High Court, valued at between R2-3 billion, every month, according to statistics released by FISA (Fiduciary Institute South Africa). Research shows that more than 70% of Estates suffer liquidity constraints that impact the timeous and effective winding up of several Estates, and only an estimated 23% of Estates have Wills. The balance are wound up intestate, meaning that a client’s wishes regarding the distribution of his or her Estate may not be fulfilled and, in particular, any minors interests would need to be catered for through the Guardian Fund. With these facts in mind and when reviewing what is currently available, it is clear that there is a dire need for a comprehensive solution to address these issues. It is for this very reason that Clientèle is excited to announce the launch of the Clientèle Estate Preservation Plan.

The Clientèle Estate Preservation Plan was developed by a small team with 145 years combined industry experience between them. This bespoke solution not only addresses the need for an executable, accessible and relevant Will, but also provides a level of financial protection for Estate’s heirs during the process of winding up the Estate. The cover provided under the Plan includes benefits related to immediate cash needs, administrative costs, executor fees, minor debtors as well as funding assistance in terms of ongoing monthly expenses which beneficiaries may require while the Estate is being wound up.

Bart Wouters, Head of Distribution, Estate Division, Clientèle Life emphasises “the Estate Preservation Plan is a unique offering which provides a vital link between the Client, Fiduciary Specialists and Financial Advisors, as all parties involved are aligned in terms of their interests. This plan, combined with a first to market online underwriting capability, is dedicated to assisting Financial Advisors. Meaning that Clientèle Life is well positioned to enhance the value proposition to clients.”

“We are very proud to be launching the Clientèle Estate Preservation Plan. A tremendous amount of work has gone into preparing this ground-breaking product. This is a new market for us and we are very excited about it. Intermediary Brokers are going to be a new key stakeholder for us and we look forward to forging strong relationships with them. Safeguarding our clients’ world with compassion will remain our top priority and the Estate Preservation Plan truly embodies this,” concludes Basil Reekie, Group Managing Director, Clientèle.

Clientèle acquires consumer champion Switch2

Clientèle is excited to welcome Switch2 (Pty Ltd), a dynamic credit life insurance provider, into its growing family of financial services tied together by a common thread – safeguarding clients’ worlds with compassion.

“We are excited to welcome Switch2 to our stable,” said Iain Hume, Group Financial Director of Clientéle. “We are always looking for ways to broaden our services to the consumer, and credit life is one of the areas we want to expand, so Switch2 is a natural fit.”

Switch2 is a credit life company that focuses on providing South African consumers with a wide range of credit life cover at a fraction of the cost, compared to that of competing insurers. It was formed in October 2016 in response to amendments to the National Credit Act (NCA) capping charges on new hire purchase or loan agreements to R4.50 per R1,000. This is a big saving compared to a previous industry average for credit life policies of R7 per R1,000 with some insurers charging as much as R57 per R1,000.

South African consumers can also be pleased that in terms of the NCA and Consumer Protection Act, they cannot be tied to a prescribed service provider, which in turn allows them to change their credit life insurance policies without prejudice.

“When consumers realise how much they can save, they are really keen to switch,” said Sasha Knott, CEO of Switch2. “We have a really active call centre, but we realised that we needed further investment into the business in order to grow and take our business to the next level.”

Clientèle Legal

Car accident? Call your lawyer.

“I was stationary at a traffi c light when a drunk driver hit me from behind” recalls Lekhotla Mofolo. “I was not seriously injured, but my car sustained a lot of damage. The other driver did not take responsibility and actually ran away! That’s when I called my lawyer at Clientèle Legal.” Lekhotla explains.

“We attempted to mediate our client’s claim, but the other party refused to pay,” says Ravashnie Venugopal of Clientèle Legal. “After summons was served on the third party without response, we proceeded to take judgment. Only thereafterdid the other party settle our client’s claim in full.” Venugopalsays Mr Mofolo was lucky. Most claims of this nature tend totake years to resolve. Motor Vehicle Insurance should alwaysbe your fi rst option.”

Lekhotla was impressed with the service he received fromClientèle Legal: “The service was quick and highly professional.They continuously updated me on the progress made on myclaim. I can recommend Clientèle Legal to anyone.”

[Note: A Clientèle Legal policy is not a replacement for MotorVehicle Insurance.]

Clientèle Legal

Conduct yourself properly after dismissal

“There is no need for this drama. This is not Hollywood.” Police Minister Fikile Mbalula declared after fired Hawks boss, Berning Ntlemeza showed up for work despite being fired, taking a work car and a cellphone as well.Mbalula said he would issue a warrant of arrest if Ntlemeza did not return the car and cellphone.

The Police Minister has a good point. Real life is not like Hollywood and how you conduct yourself during any process of dismissal can harm your future chances of getting work or negotiating the best settlement you can.

It is your right as an employee to be paid any outstanding amounts owing to you, but you cannot take company property, eg: a car and cellphone, if you are not happy with the outcome.Negotiations must be done properly.

Your Clientèle Legal lawyer can be great professional support during this time.

You must make sure you receive your UIF forms and paperwork relating to your pension fund.The employer must also provide you with a certificate of service that sets out the starting and termination dates of your employment, a brief description of the work you did and how much you were being paid.

When you are dismissed, you must make sure you adhere to any confidentiality or other agreements you might have signed while employed.

If you feel the dismissal was unfair, you have 30days to refer the matter to the CCMA/Bargaining Council. At conciliation, the commissioner at the CCMA/Bargaining Council will try to get the matter settled between the parties. If that does not work, the matter can proceed to arbitration and even, the Labour Court. Avoid it going that far by playing and working fair.

Clientèle takes home top honours at the CCMG Awards

Clientèle is no stranger to industry awards.

The Contact Centre Management Group Awards could be called the ‘Oscars’ of the South African contact centre Industry with a similar level of excitement, drama and passion. Every year companies from across the country compete fiercely to be ranked amongst the very best in customer service standards.

Clientèle is once again proud to have winners from the awards held on Saturday, 27 August 2016. We congratulate the following members of our contact centre team.

  • Asia Alibedi – Best Contact Centre Supervisor – 2nd place;
  • Siphesihle Rodolo – Best Contact Centre Professional – 2nd place;
  • Benita Steyn – Best Contact Centre Professional – 3rd place.

“Clientèle is no stranger to industry awards. We are consistently recognised because we remain committed to putting our clients first. To them we say, thank you for your loyalty, we will not stop trying to find new ways to improve your experience with us,” comments Henry Dlandla, Executive: Client Services.

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