Prudential Singapore says it will pay $100 each to all customers whose Giro deduction date for their monthly insurance premiums fell last Thursday. This includes customers affected by erroneous Giro deductions as well as those who were not.
"We decided to extend the $100 to all customers whose Giro de-duction date fell on May 24 even though a vast majority were not affected by the incorrect deductions," Prudential Singapore CEO Wilf Blackburn said in a statement yesterday.
"It is the right thing to do because we recognise that all the customers whom we had contacted regarding this incident would have experienced some amount of inconvenience, and we wish to thank them for their patience and support."
A missing decimal point is believed to be behind a "technical glitch" that affected the monthly premiums of some Prudential Singapore customers last Thursday. The excess insurance premium deductions were refunded within 24 hours.
Prudential will be reimbursing interest lost and charges incurred as soon as possible.
Because the all-crucial decimal point was missed, Giro deductions that would typically be in the hundreds of dollars ballooned to tens of thousands instead. Some transactions would have failed if the account had insufficient funds.
For instance, a policyholder claimed on an online forum that a premium which was $168 turned into a deduction of $16,800 from his bank account.
The insurer said that 22,000 customers were hit by deductions in excess of their monthly insurance premiums.
Prudential Singapore said customers will receive the amount by June 3.Customers received SMSes on Saturday afternoon informing them of the $100 credit. The insurer said it will also reach out through e-mails and letters. It added that the error was caused by a "technical glitch".
This is likely to be an unprecedented incident in Singapore, with an inquiry report expected from Prudential and its payment bank, Standard Chartered, in the weeks to come.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said in a statement late on Thursday that Prudential Singapore and StanChart would have to investigate the root cause of the incident. MAS will take follow-up supervisory measures where appropriate, it added.
It is not uncommon for regulators to issue a penalty in such cases. Prudential Singapore has about 900,000 customers here.