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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.


Anonymous said...

My lost of faith in NTUC income was the bonus cuts in 2002/3, resulting in the projected maturity yield of my growth plans down by about 20%. That was when they based their projected investment yield of 5.25% and subsequently brought down to 4%.

We now know that policyholders have been taken for a ride when they, intentionally or unintentionally, divulge the information that the actual average annual investment yield over the last ten years was in fact 7.8%. The then CEO claimed that he did not know about this information. I don't know who to believe.

But, aside from that, what has NTUC income done about restoring the bonus cuts and the much lower projected maturity yield since the actual investment yield was much higher? Nothing, absolutely nothing!

Would people who have been short-changed trust NTUC income again? Your guess is as good as mine.

redbean said...

can there be enough evidence to sue Income based on these new facts?

is there any similarities in the way cpf changes its rules regarding the return of the money to their rightful owners?

Anonymous said...

Sue NTUC income? They have deep pockets and you could end up like the 2 chaps who sued Durai. The law does not favour the lowly.

Additionally, the small print in the policy says bonus is up to the discretion of the board. What can you say?