Not a matter of faith, but of rights
July 5, 2008 I REFER to the open letter NTUC Income chief executive officer Tan Suee Chieh sent to me last Wednesday and, presumably, to the rest of Income's policyholders. It is unfortunate that Mr Tan and his new management team have not grasped the fundamental concern of existing policyholders regarding Income's bonus-restructuring exercise. Contrary to what he believes is a question of faith in him and his management team, the bone of contention for most policyholders is about how Income has unilaterally restructured the bonus scheme on not only new insurance plans, but existing ones as well. The key question Mr Tan and his management team should ask is this: If the customer had known that Income would execute an about-turn and change the bonus proportion at its own discretion, would the then-prospective policyholder have signed up? It should be the right of each consumer or policyholder, not the insurer, to determine what is in his best interest. The fact that NTUC Income has unilaterally implemented the change in the bonus scheme without allowing existing policyholders the choice of opting in or out shows a complete disregard for the sanctity of policy agreements and policyholders' rights and freedom to choose. I must therefore question the sincerity of Income's 'guided principles' to protect and enhance the interests of its policyholders. It is like telling a child he is being locked in a cage to prevent him falling down and getting hurt. As society progresses and the financial sector matures, we expect a more balanced approach to consumers' rights. Dennis Liu The above is a letter printed in the ST forum. Just reflect a little on what other organisations are doing the same thing and getting away with it. Changing the terms and conditions midstream, claiming that it is for your own good and leaving you with no right to object or to opt out. This is the kind of degeneration of the rights of the people or consumers. An organisation can do what it wants, changing the goal posts, and get away with it.