New innovative insurance scheme for the poor

New innovative insurance scheme for the poor

MASERU – YOU desperately need a lawyer but cannot pay the hefty legal fees? Such a situation can present a formidable challenge.
But thanks to a new scheme introduced by Alliance Insurance last Wednesday, every Mosotho no matter their financial status, will now be able to make use of services of a lawyer.
Alliance Insurance legal consultant, Lekhooa Montši, said the new scheme, appropriately named Thebe (which means shield in Sesotho) Legal, will make it easier for Basotho to access legal services.
He said clients will pay a monthly fee to access legal advice, representation of lawyers in court or the drafting of a will.
The scheme will also help when a client is unfairly dismissed from work or has other labour-related disputes with their employers.

“That is where we provide our clients with lawyers to represent them in court,’’ Montši said.
Montši said they have internal lawyers and attorneys in all the 14 branches run by Alliance Insurance.
He said this product was designed because a large population of Basotho lives under poverty line and cannot afford to pay legal fees when there is a court case.
He said within the population, there are people who are living in abusive marriages but such people cannot afford legal fees to file for divorce.

The inaccessibility of the justice system leads to hatred amongst the community and mob justice because people are frustrated and they feel like they cannot afford the justice system, he said.
Montši said the minimum premium will be M30 for the lowest paid workers.
He also said they have a waiting period of three months and 12 months.
The three months premium includes civil, criminal and legal matters while marriage matters have a waiting period of 12 months.
Advocate Tekane Maqakachane said when legal insurance began, professional bodies such as law societies did not like such products.

He said Lesotho lawyers did have their share in the antagonistic relationship.
He said in 2003, the legal insurance market was very pure and virgin when the company came into the picture.
But the attitude of the Law Society towards the company was antagonistic.
The company was also subjected to fights, Adv Maqakachane said.
Adv Maqakachane said the professional bodies began around the 17th century and they have moved to the next phase.

He said during that phase, the professionals were concentrating on organising themselves to ensure discipline amongst their members and upholding standards.
“They moved to another phase where the professions began to have more interest not on the public service but on self-interests,’’ he said.
Adv Maqakachane said when someone has done something wrong to you, you feel like something needs to be done.
Naturally, he said, you feel like you have to stand up and correct the wrong.
He said if everyone has to act on their own interest, society will cease to exist.
He argued that natural mode does not work for society and it is for this reason that the legal insurance came in.
“When people are poor and cannot afford legal fees, they will end up on self-help,” Adv Maqakachane said.

Way back in 2006, Adv Maqakachane said a study was conducted through the help of World Bank where it was discovered that only 30 percent of the population could afford legal fees.
He said the role of Thebe Legal is to ensure that 70 percent of the people who cannot access the justice system have hope.
He said Thebe Legal is not just a business but is an instrument that can enable every Mosotho to access justice.
The chairperson of the Alliance Insurance, Dr Mphu Ramatlapeng, said this is something that is part of the history and is at the heart of everything they do.
As the board they seek to challenge the leadership and all employees of Alliance to look at new ways of delivering innovative products to the nation.

And while doing this, they endeavor to maintain high standards both regionally and internationally.
She said Alliance Legal managed to develop a service that will bring legal services and protection closer to every Mosotho at affordable rates.
She said in most cases, they are exposed to situations where family members are in dire need of legal representation but the financial situation restricts them from accessing the legal system.
Dr Ramatlapeng said they have moved to close the existing “gap” by enabling affordable access for the average person to a network of local legal professionals that will provide a quality service.

Refiloe Mpobole


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