I've had it with irresponsible insurance agents!

6
1. They revert when hell freezes over.
Some agents can take forever to answer a question. So they're not keen on earning your money. If an agent requires me to remind him, isn't that like I'm reminding him that I want to give him money??

Where health and money is concerned, time is of the essence. I can't afford to wait 6 months for someone to give me information. Don't forget that most policies would have a "waiting period", i.e. you cannot claim within the first few months of buying the policy. Time, tide and illness waits no man. Who's going to be responsible if someone is hit with an illness while waiting for his beloved agent to revert to him?

If the agent does not give the appropriate amount of attention before I buy a policy, he will not give it later after I buy a policy and he has earned his commission. There's no way around such agents. Drop them.

2. They tell you that pigs can fly.

They provide incorrect information and fail to highlight important points in the policy. Thankfully I am able to read legalese and I make an effort to read every word so I know it when they are lying to me.

If you ever ask your agent a question and he gives you an answer, please ask him to point out where the clause is in your policy. If you do not understand certain clauses, have your agent explain it to you. If you do not believe him, call the insurer's customer service hotline and ask them the same question. If you're still not convinced, hang up and call again to speak with another officer. Keep asking till you are satisfied with the answer. Where money is concerned, put in the effort and don't be shy.

Some time ago, I had a question about a claim so I called the hotline of an insurer, Great Eastern. The first person whom I spoke with said I can make a claim but gave me the wrong form to download and fill in. While filling in the form, I found found the questions irrelevant so I called the hotline again to ask how to complete the form. This time, the officer said that I cannot make any claim. I asked to speak with a manager. The manager also said that I cannot make a claim. I requested for the manager to double-check because the first officer I spoke with said that I could make a claim. The manager insisted that the second officer checked with the claims department and the claims department said No. I insisted that she check again. So she did. It turned out that I was able to make the claim. The correct form was provided to me, I submitted it and the insurer paid the amount in less than 2 weeks. The lesson here is: don't be shy. If I had accepted the manager's answer, I wouldn't have claimed a cent.


What prompted me to write such a long post?
My previous agent, who is my friend, had quit selling insurance. A new agent from Great Eastern called me 2 months ago asking to meet me to "explain my policies". I asked him questions about one of my policies and I said I would like him to provide the information first before I agree to meet him. He said he would check. 2 months later, there was still no news from him. I emailed the insurer and said that I wanted a change of agent citing no response from the agent as the reason. It turned out that they called him to call me because he called me yesterday. He didn't have the answer but he had some bullshit. Basically he told me that pigs can fly. Then he asked me again to meet me to "explain my policies".

Yeah sure, I would really like to meet him to find out how pigs can fly - when hell freezes over.


Note:
- I do not call them financial planners because they just aren't. Who is a financial planner? We all should be our own financial planners. Don't trust anyone with your money.
- I believe in buying life, health and hospitalisation, women's health, and accident insurance policies to protect your savings. Insurance is meant to be a form of protection not savings or investment.

6 comments:

David said...

Yu-Kym,

You are right on every point you mention.

I am surprised that in highly regulated SG, insurance companies can get away with what you detailed. Here in the States regulations require policies are written in standard English, not jargon or legalese.

Certain types of claims must be settled in periods as short as 72 hours.

Not that insurance is a fix all here. There are poorly written policies and some people underinsure items of value.

Soon we will have nationlized health care.

That I will refrain from discussing as just typing these words is no doubt raising my blood pressure.

Have a great weekend!

Friday evening my emails will originate from the Lake Yellowstone Hotel!

David

It is easier to ridicule than commend.

-- Thomas Fuller

Anonymous said...

Hi Yu-Kym,
I completely agree with you.
Like many so-called professionals, some insurance agents in Singapore are completely unethical and useless - because their command of English is worse than the clients they serve.
English words can be subjected to interpretation.
An insurance contract is a horror story of interpretations. There are a hosts of clauses and exceptions to the clauses and even exceptions to those exceptions!
If the liability is huge, you can bet your bottom dollar the insurance company will not be willing to pay for every event/contigency!
And, you must go thru a claim to know all the twists and turns the insurance company will put you thru.
In my line of work, I routinely claim thousands of dollars from insurance companies. They know I enjoy crucifying Property Developers (for building defects) and I loved to mobilise solicitors to support my claims.
There are many incompetant "professionals" out there and I give as good as I get!
If you fail to read and understand the fine print, then you are basically buying "hot air" or rubbish.
If you cannot understand the contract, get a friend to explain it to you, not the agent!
Regards, Leo

Yu-Kym said...

David, unfortunately the situation here is still terrible.

Leo, it's not just about reading. For the recent life policy that I bought, the agent gave me the policy documents after the free-look period was over. Even if I wanted and knew to read it, I didn't even have the documents to read!

As for the new Great Eastern policy agent assigned to me, I got him changed. He called me and asked me the reason for the change. I told him that he had misinformed me. He asked how I knew/who told me that I was misinformed. I replied that Great Eastern had the information stated clearly in the letter. He either didn't bother to check or he doesn't understand English.

Anonymous said...

Yu-Kym,

you did the right thing in pursuing matters with the insurance ppl when things dont seem right. And righting them.

There are many who do not bother or are ignorant and therefore help perpetuate such unethical and irresponsible behaviour from agents. Agents from all sectors of commerce. lol

curious cat

Anonymous said...

I'm meeting with the same kind of insurance agent like you too, the worse part is he didnt pay my premium, and say that he didnt want to serve me anymore...==" now when i report a complain to their company then he call me back like asking me what's wrong...

Yu-Kym said...

You passed him the money to pay your premiums on your behalf but he ran off with it? Did he call you to ask you what's wrong because he can't remember who you are? It should be obvious to him why you complained!