Dear Mr. Tan,
I met an insurance agent on the street, and was introduced to their "savings" plan. I read through your website and understand that such a policy is called a regular premium ILP policy, which provides life insurance cover and also an investment portion.
The agent told me about the "percentage that is allocation for investments", which is described as the distribution cost in your website. She did not mention anything about this percentage as being a cost.
I asked her what is the minimum amount and number of years needed for the plan. She said that the life insurance policy portion of the plan will need a minimum amount of $100 per month and take 13-15 years just to break even, and I understand from your website that this means the company has high expenses.
I told her I could buy term insurance and invest the rest in index funds and get better returns based on what I read from newspapers. Also, I told her that I understood that the commission she gets from selling ILP/life insurance policies is more than what she would earn from selling term insurance policies.
She said for the investment portion, the cost is 1-1.5% per annum. I asked her if her commission and other expenses are included, what is the total cost like ?
She said she was unable to tell me the figure.
She then introduced a medical insurance plan which she said enhances cover for Medishield, as its coverage is very low.
I asked her to provide me a copy of the terms and conditions for the earlier ILP Policy and the medical insurance plan. She said she would only provide me the benefits illustration (with terms and conditions) for the medical insurance plan.
1) The agent said that the commission she gets from this ILP policy or a term insurance policy is the same (50% in the first year). I did not ask her the percentage for the subsequent years. In the end, she did not introduce any term insurance policy to me (although she said she also sells them) , which I had at least shown some interest in.
Does this mean she is dishonest or does the insurance company earn much more from the ILP policy than the term policy (and she earns the same from both) ?
2) What do you think of this insurance agent ?
3) I had in the past encountered insurance agents from the same company selling this type of ILP policy at least 4-5 times on the street during their roadshows. I understand other companies do sell the same thing too, but they are much less aggressive and seem to organise very few roadshows compared to this particular company.
What is the reason for this ?
This has become very irritating to me, and I would try to avoid this company once I see them from afar.
I believe that this agent is dishonest and is not looking after the best interest of the client. Unfortunately, this type of behaviour is typical of most insurance agents from most companies. It is a sad state of affairs.
I hope that clients like you, are willing to write to the MAS and tell them about the real behaviour of insurance agents. If MAS acts against the dishonest agents, it may improve the situation and make the agents more ethical.
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