Safeguards to help customers make responsible decisions

The United Overseas Bank (UOB) is committed to treating all its customers fairly by putting them and their financial goals first ("Insurance plans must meet customers' needs" by Mr Leong Kok Seng; Wednesday).

Over the past two years, we have proactively and progressively implemented several safeguards, some of which are the first and only in the industry, to ensure that customers understand all products and plans they purchase from us.

Customers' financial circumstances may change over time and put them in a difficult spot. In such cases, we work with them to find appropriate solutions.

Our safeguards include:

• Affordability assessment

Our conservative threshold limits ensure customers can afford their purchases.

If the threshold is breached, our staff must justify and obtain approval from the management that the customer has other income streams or sufficient lump-sum amounts over and above their monthly income before making the purchase.

•Most important document

Before purchases are made, we take customers through a five-point document which ensures they fully understand what they are about to buy.

•Post-sale survey

Upon purchase, all customers are invited to complete an online questionnaire to ensure they have understood their purchase.

Questions include whether the personal banker had adequately understood the customer's risk profile and financial situation, and if the product information had been properly explained. All feedback is dealt with effectively and promptly.

•SMS alert

After customers have bought the products, we send an SMS message to remind them of what they have purchased, that they have 14 days to reconsider their decision and to review their policy document once they receive it from their insurance provider.

• 100 per cent customer callback

Customers who have bought an insurance plan from personal bankers at our branches receive a call from our centralised callback team within 14 days.

We call them to confirm, once again, that they have understood their purchase. They are reminded of the 14-day free-look period and are encouraged to review their policy document once more.

Ultimately, we want our customers to know what they are buying and that we help them make responsible decisions.

Even with the safeguards taken to ensure this, there are customers whose financial circumstances may change over time and we work with them to find a suitable resolution.

Dennis Khoo

Head, Personal Financial Services

United Overseas Bank Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2015, with the headline 'Safeguards to help customers make responsible decisions'. Subscribe