How can I increase the sum assured for a term plan I bought five years ago?
You can alter the sum assured only if your policy features permit it. You can check the policy contract for terms and conditions. Such plans typically allow policyholders to increase the sum assured on the basis of their changed life circumstances, such as marriage, childbirth, etc, which alter a person’s responsibility set. Such products may be priced slightly differently to allow for this option.
Are the revised surrender charges on unit-linked policies under Irda guidelines applicable retrospectively to all policies?
No. The revised guidelines on surrender charges are applicable only to policies issued after the norms took effect, that is, on September 1, 2010.
My agent mis-sold policies six years ago, saying that I don’t have to pay any premium after five years, and that I can close them without penalty after completing five years. At the time of signing up, they did not tell me about these fineprints. I received them only later, as part of the original policy documents. What is the redressal?
Do check your policy contract as it outlines the terms and conditions of your engagement with the insurer. Conditions cannot be changed mid-way. In case of a grievance, the first step is to make a representation to your insurer with your grievance. Every insurance company has a designated grievance officer who is the nodal authority for all complaints pertaining to that insurer. If you are not satisfied with the resolution offered by your insurer, or have not received a response within a month, you can escalate the matter to the insurance ombudsman. The caveat is that the complaint should not be pending before a court or any arbitration forum. However, insurance as a product is designed to benefit the customer over the long term; hence, premature surrenders are not recommended, if you have that choice.
Can I change certain disclosures in a term policy I brought two years ago online?
Insurance contracts are based on the principle of ‘Uberrima fides’, or utmost good faith. The pricing of a policy and the assessment of risk is based on the disclosures. In your case, the insurer may decide on the status of contract, whether to continue or otherwise, depending on the nature of fresh disclosures. In case of continuation, the insurer may alter the premium to factor in additional risk, if any. In case of incomplete or incorrect disclosures, the insurer reserves the right to terminate the contract or reject the claim, if it comes to that. It is, therefore, in the policyholder’s best interest to disclose all information sought.
Can I pay my half-yearly insurance of R26,000 by cash?
Different insurers have their own policies regarding acceptance of cash, aligned to anti-money laundering guidelines in force. Usually cash payments of up to R50,000 are allowed for paying insurance premiums. However, it is strongly recommended that you use a mode such as cheque, demand draft or online payment for your own safety and record. If you have to pay in cash, then it is recommended that you go to your insurer’s branch and do so yourself.
How do I give the bank an ECS mandate to deduct the premium from my savings bank account?
Usually you are required to submit the ECS mandate, along with a cancelled cheque of the account from which you want to auto debit the premium to your insurer. The ECS mandate form can be downloaded from your insurer’s website. Do check with your insurer for more details.
The author is executive vice-president, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance
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