Close to half of the complaints received by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) against life insurers last year were related to service standards, said Mr Chua Kim Leng, MAS assistant managing director, Banking and Insurance, at an annual luncheon hosted yesterday by the Life Insurance Association (LIA).
“To improve standards on service levels, LIA should regularly review its code of practice to ensure that it remains relevant and helps raise standards. Insurers should adopt the code and be fair, pro-active and prompt when dealing with customers,” he added. Responding to Mr Chua’s comments, LIA Singapore president Dr Khoo Kah Siang said that while complaints on service are inevitable, the industry is constantly reviewing its standards to enhance the service quality provided.
“A lot of insurance companies now have embedded fair dealing as part of their focus in dealing with consumers,” he said. “As part of fair dealing, the services provided to the consumers would be looked at in terms of service quality, service level and turnaround, so that there is a process in place that is quite robust to ensure they can address the consumer’s complaints on services fairly.”
Fair dealing is one of the key thrusts of the Financial Advisory Industry Review (FAIR) launched by MAS in 2012 to raise standards in the financial advisory industry and improve efficiency in the distribution of life insurance and investment products. Key FAIR initiatives adopted last year include: A balanced scorecard framework; a web aggregator for consumers to compare life insurance products; and a direct purchase insurance scheme.
Going forward, LIA said it will focus on key initiatives such as the standard Integrated Shield Plan targeted at Class B1 wards coverage, expected to be rolled out in the first half of this year by the Ministry of Health. LIA will also work closely with relevant parties to manage rising healthcare costs, and revamp the benefit illustrations of participating products to increase transparency for customers. ANGELA TENG