Exercise Caution While Making Policy Premium Payments

August 6, 2020

Among the many long-term investment options available in the financial market, money back policies are one of the most fundamental instruments thousands of Fijians have invested in.

In addition to offering a host of advantages to the investor, a money back policy also provides several benefits to the investor’s family and legal heirs. Typically, people invest in these types of policies with the expectation to reap its benefits in the future.

These investors optimistically spend thousands of dollars so that their financial dependents would benefit as well as to plan for their retirement through benefits of tax savings coupled with long-term capital appreciation.

However, even after choosing the best insurance policies available in the market with credible financial institution consumers need to be cautious while making payments.

Case Study A consumer optimistically invested in a 20-year money back policy in 2015 with expected cashback of $4000 every five years with a prominent insurance company. The consumer has been paying a monthly premium if $112.80.

However, the consumer had been making these payments to the insurance agent who sold her the money back policy. The consumer was assured by the agent that he will be able to assist in facilitating the premium payments.

Based on trust, the consumer continued making most of the premium payments to the insurance agent however, the agent failed to provide any receipt for the payments he received on behalf of the insurance company.

This year the consumer expected to receive $4000 cash back according to the conditions of her policy but to her surprise, she only received $131.23. The Consumer had taken a loan on the policy and even after deducting the loan, the consumer was set to receive $2481.60. Upon enquiring with the insurer, she found out that the agent was not making the premium payments to the insurer but using it for personal gain.

Once this was revealed, the institution terminated the agent. Do Your Homework Before Making Payments? Consumers work hard to earn money therefore; they should take appropriate precautions to ensure that notorious profiteers do not rip them off. Consumers have the responsibility of Critical Awareness; to be more alert and question about the goods and services.

Before making policy premium payments or any other payments for that matter, to either agents or third-party representatives, consumers should ensure that the payment recipients are legitimate and are actually remitting the payments to the rightful recipient. How can they do that? Consumers are advised to make an effort to go to the institution or the supplier of goods and services to make payments directly. Eliminating third parties and agents in between reduces the risk of consumers getting ripped off.

However, if consumers do opt to use these agents or third parties for payments, extreme caution needs to be taken. Before carrying out any cash transactions, consumers should contact the trader or the final recipient to whom the payment has to be made and get absolute assurances that the said agent or third party is authorized to receive payments on their behalf.

Additionally, get the names of the agent or third party involved from the institution in question so that you can verify their identity by requesting official identification from the agent in question. Moreover, it is imperative for consumers to demand for receipts if not provided voluntarily. Receipts will serve as evidence for the exchange of cash and becomes pivotal while seeking redress. As more people are leaning towards a more cashless society, consumers also opt to make payments using online platforms through their visa cards.

If consumers are using this medium to make payments, they must ensure that these are reliable platforms and not vulnerable to hacking. Consumers can do this by researching retailers online to make sure they’re legitimate, making sure the website is secure, keep software and virus protection up-to-date and use strong passwords for online accounts and not use public Wi-Fi. Your standard data connection is more secure, paying using a credit card. Alternatively, online services like PayPal mean scammers will not be able to get hold of your bank details.

If consumers are facing similar issues or wish to lodge any other complaint against traders, consumers are urged to download the Consumer Council of Fiji App from Playstore on android smart phones and lodge a complaint. By using this app to lodge complaints, consumer will be able to track their complaints as well using their reference number which will be provided whilst lodging the complaint. Alternatively, consumers can contact us via our National Consumer Helpline toll-free number on 155 or visit one of our offices in Suva, Labasa or Lautoka. Ends