Man Held Hostage at Mall

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK A confrontation over an insurance policy payout sparked a standoff between a frustrated customer and a broker during the busy shopping hours on Saturday morning at Maerua Mall in the capital. As the hostage drama unfolded in front of Woermann Brock, the victim was handcuffed to a grocery trolley after a scuffle with a high tempered customer. The hostage taking was fuelled by impatience expressed by the customer who claimed he has been paying insurance over the past ten years and has not received any cash bonus. Despite the grievances, the broker seemed to have turned a deaf ear. At about 11h00, the frustrated customer grabbed the broker who he seemed to have been stalking and demanded back his money he has been paying the past years. The not so happy insurance customer demanded that radio and television stations be informed of what was going on so that he could tell his story and how the company had failed to pay what is due to him. Within a few minutes the airwaves captured the hostage drama live. After hearing about the drama, the manager of the insurance company rushed to the scene to negotiate for the release of his handcuffed employee. The negotiations that took about 30 minutes saw the agitated customer releasing the hostage. No one was hurt despite the incident being described as scary by shocked onlookers at the mall. A man who claimed to have represented an insurance company Cashout assured that his company would from this time on pay out customers every two years after their signing up for insurance services. The released man told New Era, “I just saw this man grabbing me. I did not know what was going on at that moment and I feared for my life. Luckily, he did not have a gun.” The just told drama is a ‘teaser’ for the launch of “Outsurance’, Namibia’s first direct insurance product. The service provider is part of the Prosperity Group. The anti-terrorist unit was present at the scene and the radio stations all reported live to make the scenario have a real effect. Managing Director of Outsurance, Wally Jacobs, told New Era that the product comes to Namibia after extensive marketing was done and proved that the market is suitable. The main idea, he says, is to offer local people a cash bonus and after every two years, a 20 per cent premium is payable. “The drama was done to create awareness about this new product,” he concluded. Household contents insurance, property insurance, motor insurance, and all risk insurance, are among other added benefits on offer.

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