Why the delay by insurance firm?

The logo of NTUC Income.
The logo of NTUC Income.PHOTO: NTUC INCOME

Are there some unwritten rules about making insurance claims that the insured should know about?

It appears to be the case, if my sister's experience is an indication.

In May last year, my sister bought a medical insurance policy from NTUC Income. Unfortunately, three months later, she was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Her surgery and subsequent chemo sessions were fraught with complications and side effects.

Besides the daily battle with this dreaded disease, her family suffered great emotional anguish. The treatment was impoverishing her family (unemployed caregiver husband and four children) as well as members of the extended family, who stepped up financially to help defray the medical costs.

After about nine months, my sister's claims are still being looked into. During that period, Income had written to the Singapore General Hospital, and the National University Hospital, as well as a polyclinic my sister visited for some eye problem, requesting information on my sister's case.

When we queried Income about the delay, it responded with a request to fill up a very abstract form which we had submitted to the company once before in October last year. We also took a medical history questionnaire on her headaches and eye problem - how that is related to the stomach cancer is baffling.

My sister struggles to remember the dates and visits to the polyclinic, hospitals and the names of the doctors who attended to her.

I recognise that Income needs to do its due diligence and check for fraudulent claims but it should also have some consideration for the person who is insured.

Is there some time period that we must stay in good health after purchasing a policy for claims to be speedily reimbursed?

If there is, it might be good to make this known because there are a lot of people out there who are insured with Income.

Pauline Low

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2019, with the headline 'Why the delay by insurance firm?'. Print Edition | Subscribe