I have sustained an insurance policy over the last 24 years. In retirement, I am reassessing my financial needs, including the possibility of a partial surrender of the policy.
I asked the insurance company for two pieces of data. First, the death benefit and surrender value as at the current date. Second, the immediate change to the policy, after the partial surrender.
I was unprepared for how reluctantly the company would respond. More than two weeks later, I received this reply: "Any withdrawal will reduce surrender/maturity/death benefit of the policy."
The agent added that the requested information could be made available only after the partial surrender instruction was received and processed by the insurer.
She concluded: "I know you will not be satisfied with this explanation. Please call the customer care hotline."
This blunt message shocked me. When I suggested other actions such as putting me in contact with the person at the insurer whom she liaised with, the agent was unwilling to cooperate.
The annual premium due date expired in the time it took for the company to issue the unhelpful statement.
Are policyholders expected to fly blind in making such decisions? What are the industry standards that safeguard the interest of policyholders?
The information I asked for is the current data, not even a future projection. Why is the insurer unwilling to assist me?
Surely there must be a duty of care owed to act in good faith in servicing policyholders.
Nicholas Tan Kok Peng