Monday, September 29, 2008

NTUC Income - Hard to claim???

A panicky client who called in the early morning
I was still in my dreamland when I received a call at 8am last Wednesday (24th Sep). My client asked me why NTUC Income dropped client unreasonably. I was very blur and don't know what she is trying to tell me. She told me to read the Straits Times page B1 and call her back. I thought something serious happened in NTUC Income like the AIG saga and rushed to 7-11 to buy the Straits Times.

It was a report about a Car Insurance case which has nothing to do with this client who had purchased an Incomeshield plan. I read the report, called her back to explain about the motor insurance case and reassured her that it will not affect her incomeshield. She told me that she regretted taking up the Incomeshield plan from me and wish to change insurer. I don't know whether if shes already poisoned with the thoughts that NTUC don't pay claims by someone else and prompted her to terminate her existing plan.

My topic today is why some people have the impression that NTUC Income is a poor paymaster when it comes to claims.

1) Poison fed by advisers from NTUC Income competitors
* Its common to hear advisers from companies telling their clients not to buy from NTUC Income because NTUC Income don't pay claims.
* They like to use 3 articles
a) The report by Straits Times, think its May07 that says that NTUC Income is the slowest in settling Incomeshield Claims.
b) The report by Straits Times that says that NTUC Income stop paying PTD claims because the person is able to sign cheque for his family business.
c) The letter sent out by NTUC Income in 2002 and 2003, declaring a cut in bonuses
* I'm not going to argue on each cases but what I want to say is that NTUC Income is actually quite fast in settling claims unless inadeqate info is given at point of claims where delay is expected.
* I had helped my clients with many many claims ranging from Medical, Accident, Travel, Critical Illnesses and even Death. Most of the claims were settled without a hitch.

2) The Motor Insurance Virus
* NTUC Income is a composite insurer and they have a major market share in their motor insurance business.
* Motor claims are notoriously high with exaggerated payout. Considerable time are required for investigation and can take a long time to settle.
* Some journalist do not project an accurate picture in their newspaper report. Clients usually only remember such negative reports and never see the reply from the management to hear the other side of the story.
* Most major insurers such as Prudential, GE and Manulife don't have this problem.

3) Their Core Customers who lack understanding
* NTUC Income, as a cooperatives aims to help the lower income group to ensure that the under privelege group of clients get some insurance cover. This group of clients are normally not highly educated and do not fully appreciate the type of cover they had got for themselves.
* For example, they purchased a Critical Illnesses Term plan and demand the company to pay for their hospital bill thinking that its a H&S plan.
* So when claims cannot be paid out, words spread fast in the coffeeshops.

Perhaps, someone may give me more reasons why NTUC Income is always the target for people to point fingers at. I also like to highlight that its always better if there is an adviser to help you with claims matter because they are able to assist you to contact the right person when there is any delay.


Anonymous said...

Adrain, i take issue with your comments especailly the 3rd point.
Yes it is well known that NTUC WAS a poor man in the street insurer but NOT NOW. Not only because of new management but also because of the change of attitude of the salespeople.
The new management will bring NTUC to its demise. Just watch. It is not having the right CEO and the right team. It is not in sync with its cooperative values. The values lost since the change over. Product became rubbish, more expensive and not value for money and hardly suit the consumers ' needs.Management thinks by making the agents happy is the goal of the company and sales improves at the expense of the consumers.
Rememebr the customers trust the brand name and the agents but what the company is doing is exploiting and betraying the trust of the customers and using the greedy agents to do it.
The agents became more greedy, more ruthless and throw ethics out of the windows.They do anyhting
to qualify for mdrt, to earn high commission and disregard their customers' needs. They are poorly competent, lacking in skills that they rely on the company's brand name and the management to feed their greed. You can see no incentives the sales drops. Commission cut, sales drops Low commission products , nobody wants to sell.. The question to ask is who are they looking after, themselves or the customers' needs then themselves.?
The company's customers are mostly poor people. Are the agents helping them to get out of this poverty trap? or making them poorer? Ponder on these questions.
You have done the right thing by leaving NTUC because you care for your clients so that you can give them the best. By doing so you get rewarded.This is putting you clients first.
Sorry for this disagreement but things need to be put right.


Anonymous said...

MAS consultation Paper on the below.
BY next year all advisers will be licensed. There will be no exempt advisers. Fee=$200 +$10 application fee
A public register with the details of all advisers, past and present details, record of professional misconduct, suspension, fine and so forth will be made available to for the public to see and verify.
Another change is all the insurers will have the same right of nomination as the cooperatives.
Section 73 irrevocable insurance trust will come under insurance act sect 49.
Many more changes I hope especailly section 27 of FAA will be given more power and enforced seriously


Anonymous said...

Mr. Tan Kin Lian was the CEO of NTUC Income for the last 30 years before the new CEO took over. Mr Tan did well but he offended the agents when his pro-policyholder policy clash with the agents greed for more commission. Some of these powerful agents with connections to the ruling elite managed to oust him. The new CEO, who is aware of the reason for the change but lack local understanding since he is Malaysian born decided to be nice to the agents. This is what I think happened to NTUC Income. Since the new CEO did not understand the co-operative principles which is probably alien in Malaysia, his home country, therefore the foreign team that he assembled is now going in a different direction and I agree with the first poster that NTUC Income is heading towards its demise if our NTUC ministers are still blur and intoxicated with their million dollars salaries to take notice and avert the disaster.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

With my experience dealing with NTUC Income and other insurers, they are still generally softer in underwriting cases.

They are more willing to negotiate special terms and accept people with mild illnesses. Other insurers generally are more picky and choose only the good cherries.

I think Cooperative values under this aspect is still there.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Moderated Comment.

Adrain, you biased and sleeping.
You understand cooperative or not?
Since the new ceo, policyholders have to be cooperative otherwise more bonus reshaping and restructuring.. Who is cooperative now? Every thing expensive. Money spent like water, $2000 chairs, champagne flow freely, one million for ho chi ming, posh advsier meeting instaed of kreta ayer. . Free gifts no commission cut. Where money come from? From his pocket? Agents used to say 98% distributed, now? Can't pay annual bonus, got to defer, defer to special? Don't be fooled. This is one tactic insurer used to cover up when they cannot pay annual bonus. So waht to do? Not bonus cut but defer bonus. better to hear,right.
Adrain, don't be innocent. This si a wicked world. minibomb and pinnacle are good example. RMs and banks can twist.Right? waht about bonus?

A fool and his money will soon part.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

There are many anonymous comments that I rejected for this posting because they, as usual like to attack NTUC Income out from nowhere.

I'm not trying to help Income or anything in this post. I'm just writing what I feel about the issue. If they do anything which I feel unreasonable one day, I'll still voice it out here.