Nathan Ganas was killed in a hail of bullets trying to protect his wife, Denise, during a hijacking in the driveway of their Shallcross home. Picture: Supplied

DURBAN - Insurer Momentum has agreed to pay out the R2.4 million life policy of Nathan Ganas, who was shot dead during a hijacking at his Shallcross home in March last year.

The insurance giant had initially demanded that Denise Ganas, Nathan’s wife, pay back a R50 000 cash benefit that had been paid to the family after the man was fatally shot dead.

Momentum had refused to pay out the policy, citing the fact that Nathan had high blood sugar levels that he had failed to disclose to the insurer.

After the story was broken by the Independent On Saturday, the company took a pounding on social media, with many people expressing disgust at the insurer's stance despite the ombudsman for long-term insurance also finding in Momentum's favour.

On Monday The CEO of Momentum Life, Johann Le Roux, told PowerFM that the company would refund the premiums paid by the Ganas family since the inception of the policy. 

The insurer also backtracked on its demand that Denise repay the R50 000 cash benefit which the family used to pay for his funeral.

In a statement posted on their website on Tuesday, Momentum cited market pressures and announced they had reversed their decision and would be paying the Ganas family the R2.4 million.

Ganas could not be immediately reached on her cellphone on Tuesday evening.

The ordeal involving Ganas also affected other current policy holders, with the insurance company announcing that they would pay a death benefit capped at R3 million, for all victims of violent crimes, regardless of the medical history.

“It is clear from market reaction over the last two days that under certain circumstances, current industry practice creates the impression that insurers are looking for reasons not to pay a claim.

“Momentum is in the business of paying claims and we have therefore taken the criticism to heart. We have created a solution that will pay an amount equal to the death benefit (limited to a maximum of R3 million) in the case of violent crime, regardless of previous medical history. This will apply to all existing as well as future life cover clients,” said the insurer.