Some life insurance products were designed to provide an annual cash bonus. The underlying return on the policy is poor, usually less than 2% p.a., due to the high expenses and profit margin. To enjoy the cash bonus, the consumer has to pay an additional premium that is usually more than 10% of the cash bonus. For example, to get a cash bonus of $2,000, the additional premium could be $2,200 a year. The consumer is not aware about this type of structure.
To hide the poor return, the insurance agent tells the customer that the cash bonus can be re-invested in an investment linked fund to earn 5% or 9% per annum. This is stated to be not guaranteed, but the consumer does not know that the projections are over-optimistic.
By illustrating with this high projected return, the benefit illustration will show a higher return on the policy, perhaps 4% or more. If it was possible to earn 9% per annum, the consumer should invest the entire premium into the investment linked fund, rather than just the cash bonus.
I hope that the authority will ban this type of projection, as it is misleading to the consumer.
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