FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

MAS to life insurers: Focus on quality to avoid irate consumers

Service standards remain below par, central bank said.

Technological advancements have been accelerating at a breakneck pace, and along with it comes the rapid rise of consumer demands, which is also evident in the life insurance business.

In a speech by Chua Kim Leng, assistant managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, he said consumers are not only currently more demanding, they are also more vocal in expressing both their dissatisfaction.

This isn’t surprising, as Chua Kim Leng added that they also have many more avenues to convey their views.

Chua Kim Leng stressed that there continues to be complaints on misselling due to poor advice or misinformation on the advisory process.

“Insurers should review their sales process and consider ways to provide appropriate and sound advice, and communicate more effectively with customers. Take for example participating funds – there is room for insurers to strengthen disclosure on governance for par fund management, bonus determination and the basis for illustration rates,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chua Kim Leng also said the industry is aware that Singaporeans have inadequate protection and retirement covers in terms of life insurance coverage.

“To address these gaps, I encourage insurers to introduce products with good value proposition that meet changing consumer needs. Besides enhanced disclosures and greater consumer education, consumers would also benefit from product simplification and greater competition,” he said.

Among other concerns, Chua Kim Leng said insurers should also keep their service quality in check to meet consumer expectations.

“Last year, close to half of the complaints received by MAS against life insurers were related to service standards. 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 said.

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