‘Forced’ insurance policy angers soldiers

‘Forced’ insurance policy angers soldiers

MASERU – THERE is simmering discontent within the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) after the army allegedly ordered soldiers to take up insurance policies with the Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG), thepost can reveal. LNIG subscription forms were distributed to the soldiers on Monday.
“We were told at a parade that we should abandon the policies that we had with other insurance companies and subscribe to LNIG or else we should take LNIG along with other insurance companies of our own interest,” said a soldier who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But the LDF deputy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mashili Mashili denied that they had ordered their members to exclusively subscribe with the LNIG. Lt Col Mashili said the army had realized that some of their members did not have any insurance policies, especially the newly recruited ones.
He said the army had experienced some serious problems when soldiers who did not have insurance policies died.

“We conducted a mini research against other competitive insurance companies in the country and realised that the LNIG could answer our members’ burial needs,” Lt Col Mashili said.

However, sources within the LDF told thepost that most of the army members were not happy with the new policy.
Some did not fill the forms when they were handed over to them.
They argued that the policy was introduced in the army because the new commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, is a relative of the LNIG Managing Director, Ralitapole Letsoela.

Mashili refuted the allegation saying “this has been a long process” that started even before Lt Gen Letsoela could be appointed the army commander.
He said the new policy had not been initiated by the new commander as he has been in office for just a few weeks.

The sources however insisted that when there are new recruits in the LDF, various insurance companies are usually invited to sell their policies.
But this time only the LNIG had been ‘thrown’ at them. “We have been told that M110 will be deducted from our salaries. We are worried because there are other affordable policies that we could undertake,” the source added.

The source said there are army officers who had subscribed to other insurance companies and they are now caught between a rock and a hard place.
They have spent a lot of monies on their insurance policies with other companies and now they have to forfeit their insurance policies and go for the LNIG.

The policy shows that the policy holder will get M100 000 upon death while the beneficiary will get M20 000.
Only four biological children of the deceased are covered in the new insurance policy.

“There is no law that the employer should force employees to take insurance policies,” one of the concerned army officers said.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Colonel Tanki Mothae, said he was not aware that LNIG policies were being imposed on the soldiers.

He said as a ministry, they are more concerned with administrative issues.
Col Mothae said this is an operational issue that falls directly within the LDF command.
“This is not within our jurisdiction as a ministry,” Mothae said.

Majara Molupe

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