Claiming directly with the Road Accident Fund (RAF) has been perceived negatively in recent years.
A lot of this negativity is due to the commonly held belief that claiming through a third party, like attorneys, is much more lucrative. This myth, together with many others, are tough to debunk when they take flight. Yet, in truth, claiming directly with the RAF is a far simpler process than people are led to believe. It takes just three simple steps:
Gather the required documents
Complete the submission form, and
Submit the form and documents at your nearest RAF office.
Since the RAF’s introduction of direct claims initiatives less than a decade ago, direct claims have increased, growing from 15% of new claims in 2011/12 to 37% in 2017/18. This increase indicates the confidence that direct claimants have in the RAF and its services, and the more people are aware of how simple the process is, the more they will claim directly. A lot of that change rests in debunking some untrue, commonly held beliefs about engaging the RAF.
People generally think that the RAF is not easily accessible. In addition, after surviving a road crash, having to complete several forms and documents can be frustrating. However, RAF’s wide network of 100 hospital service centres, five regional offices, five customer service centres, social media platforms, website and call centre are actually easy to access for assistance and information when lodging a claim.
RAF personnel explain the claims steps when they interact with car crash victims or their families at these touch points, and after the initial engagement, people are usually more confident that they chose to claim directly.
The idea that people cannot get great service from RAF without a lawyer is not true. For direct claims, the claimant is consulted throughout the process and is constantly aware of the amount that they are claiming for. The RAF has a direct claim management policy in place that specifically provides for the management of disputes by direct claimants should a dispute arise.
Direct claims improve service delivery through direct interaction between the RAF and the claimant, something which is not possible where the claimant is represented by an attorney. The direct claimant therefore has first-hand feedback from the RAF on the status of the claim.
Payment of the compensation is also made in full directly to the direct claimant, whereas in the case of an attorney, it is reduced due to contingency fees and expenses. Therefore, any arguments put forward on quicker turnaround times potentially resulting in lesser settlement values fails to consider the advantages of claiming directly as opposed to using a legal representative.
Claiming with the RAF is like any other insurance claim as the administrative claims process can take some time. But claiming directly tends to require less processing time because there is no lengthy litigation, which is common place when a represented claim proceeds to court.
Information shared by the RAF through its various platforms is simple to read and easy to digest. The anticipation of jargon is probably because of the perception of insurance processes, but RAF has ensured that information is simple and accessible, with claims consultants on hand to assist when necessary.
Any claims queries or clarification required may be channelled through the RAF Call Centre on 0860 23 55 23, Monday to Friday, from 7.45am to 4pm. Assistance is available in any of the 11 official South African languages.