In­sur­ance buy­ers ad­vised to be care­ful be­fore buy­ing poli­cies

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Ben Gar­cia

In­sur­ance poli­cies are of great use dur­ing un­ex­pected cir­cum­stances. But some peo­ple have faced prob­lems. In the Philip­pines, many peo­ple were trau­ma­tized af­ter buy­ing ed­u­ca­tional poli­cies for their chil­dren, but suf­fered great losses af­ter the com­pa­nies de­clared bank­ruptcy, leav­ing their in­vest­ments in dis­ar­ray.

“I bought three ed­u­ca­tional poli­cies for my chil­dren, but none of them were used. The com­pany went bank­rupt and promised to re­turn the money, but not a sin­gle penny was re­turned,” Cyril Man­sueto, an in­sur­ance pol­icy buyer, told Kuwait Times. He bought the ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy in Kuwait from a Manila-based com­pany in late 1990s. The value of the poli­cies was more than KD 8,000.

Nita, an Indian sec­re­tary, also bought a life in­sur­ance pol­icy in Kuwait. Af­ter being pestered by the agent, she de­cided to buy a pol­icy. “He vis­ited my of­fice al­most ev­ery day, and was very per­sis­tent. I started pay­ing to­wards the pol­icy in 2008. He in­sisted that on my death, my fam­ily will re­ceive $50,000. Also, in case of an accident, my ex­penses will be taken care of. I agreed to pay KD 200 on a quar­terly ba­sis for the next 15 years,” Nita said.

How­ever, af­ter los­ing her job, she could no longer af­ford to pay reg­u­larly. “I had no money to con­tinue my in­sur­ance pol­icy, so I stopped af­ter pay­ing for seven years. They said I will get the money back af­ter the can­cel­la­tion fee is de­ducted,” she said. “I had signed the con­tract in Kuwait, but when I can­celled it, I was told to con­tact Dubai, as it was an in­ter­na­tional in­sur­ance com­pany. Ten days later, I re­ceived only KD 1,800 out of around KD 7,000. I was ex­pect­ing at least 50 per­cent of what I paid. This was re­ally very dis­ap­point­ing,” she said.

The US-based in­sur­ance com­pany in Kuwait ex­plained the rules of the com­pany and how her money shrunk to this mea­ger amount. “She came to the of­fice three times or more, and she knew the rules. Our com­pany will not get a sin­gle penny from her in­vest­ment. The type of in­sur­ance she took had a con­di­tion that if you sur­ren­der the pol­icy, the com­pany will charge her, which is men­tioned in the con­tract. We’ve been in the mar­ket for the last 62 years and never had any prob­lems with our cus­tomers. We fol­low the laws of Kuwait and the US - both coun­tries have strict reg­u­la­tions for in­sur­ance. I as­sure you that my com­pany isn’t into any ir­reg­u­lar deal­ings, and peo­ple trust us,” the com­pany’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive told Kuwait Times.

He stressed the buyer un­der­stood that her money would be in­vested in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and that if the mar­ket in­vest­ments are down, it would re­flect on her claim; which was clearly men­tioned in the con­tract she signed.

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