Ntombenhle Mhlongo and Thandaza Mtshali standing next to their uncle's grave at the family home. Picture Zanele Zulu/ African News Agency (ANA).

Durban - Old Mutual has issued an official apology to a KwaZulu-Natal family after they dragged the body of a deceased loved one into their offices following an apparent policy payout dispute. 

Fed-up with the insurance provider for delaying their payout without a reason, Thandaza Mtshali and her aunt Ntombenhle Mhlongo took the body of their deceased relative, Sifiso Justice Mtshali's body to the company's Stanger offices. A video of the pair leaving with the body has since gone viral on social media. 

The women said they were desperate and needed to bury Sifiso who died of natural causes on November 7. 

The family eventually buried Sifiso at their family home in Madundube, just outside Stanger on the KZN north coast. 

Old Mutual's Clarence Nethengwe said they deeply regret the distress that the payout delay caused the family. 

Nethengwe admitted that Old Mutual needed to make their additional claims assessment process easier and faster to ensure that they do not let any of their customers down in their greatest time of need. 

"While more than 99% of our valid funeral claims are paid out within the contracted 48 hours, we must strive to make that 100%. Most claims are paid on time, and delays are rare," he said. 

He said the funeral claim was lodged on Monday, November 11, and was referred for further assessment before being paid out on November 15.

"The claim was not delayed because Old Mutual doubted that a death had occurred. It was delayed because it was referred for further individual assessment. Although every attempt was made to settle the claim as speedily as possible, we are deeply sorry for the delay."

"We are committed to doing better and we will be taking steps to accelerate and improve the way we verify those claims that need to be assessed further. Old Mutual will also continue to engage the family and provide any necessary support," he said. 

The Mercury