Why insurance firm snubs Citi Golfs

By Time of article published Oct 24, 2007

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By Natasha Joseph

Hollard Insurance says the 2 000 Citi Golf drivers already on its books will not lose their vehicle coverage after the company decided last week to stop insuring Citi Golfs manufactured between 2004 and 2006.

The Citi Golf's risk ratio, which indicated that it was particularly vulnerable to hijacking and theft, was above average, said a company spokesperson.

However, the company said Citi Golf owners who fitted a Volkswagen-approved security device to their cars in future would still qualify for insurance.

A South African Insurance Association (SAIA) spokesperson said only Hollard had decided to stop insuring a particular vehicle because it was considered a hijacking or theft risk.

The SAIA was not aware of any other insurance companies that had made a similar decision, said the spokesperson.

Dave Shipton, operations manager for vehicle-tracking company Altech Netstar, said no vehicle was exempt from the risk of theft or hijacking.

"It's hard to single out one vehicle," said Shipton.

He said Altech Netstar based its assumptions about high-risk vehicle models on its subscriber base.

Yesterday, a Hollard spokesperson said that prior to the introduction of VW's "after-market security device", Citi Golfs had a risk ratio that was above average.

No other vehicle models were affected by this decision, said Hollard's Zuriel Naiker.

He said a vehicle's risk rating was based on a number of factors, including the area where a motorist lived and road conditions.

According to this year's crime statistics, compiled by the SA Police Service, 13 599 hijackings were reported across the country from April 2006 to March 2007.

Nearly 7 000 of those were in Gauteng, 3 562 in KwaZulu Natal and 911 in the Western Cape.

A total of 86 298 cars and motorbikes were reported stolen nationwide during the same period.

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