Fundsupermart's insurance rebates: All policy inquiries will be seen to

Fundsupermart's insurance rebates: All policy inquiries will be seen to

Clients who had asked Fundsupermart about buying insurance policies will have their inquiries processed despite the closure of the controversial cut-price service after just four days.

A fierce backlash from the insurance industry forced the online sales point to stop offering the service earlier this month but the company said applications will be honoured.

Fundsupermart, the online unit trust distribution arm of iFAST Financial, had offered 50 per cent rebates off the lifetime commission for policies it distributed from Tokio Marine, NTUC Income and Manulife.

The policies included those for life, medical, critical illness and health insurance.

There were products sold in the four-day period but an extensive fact-finding process still has to be carried out.

This will involve learning more about a customer's financial situation, risk appetite and the products he has already signed up for before suitable products can be recommended.

iFAST group chairman and chief executive Lim Chung Chun said on Tuesday that this lengthy process means it cannot give accurate sale numbers.

"We have to go through the fact finds, recommend the solutions and more, before any sale is concluded. It will probably be a few more weeks before we are able to give any meaningful number."

This includes the number of sales and the number of people who made enquiries.

Fundsupermart started selling insurance products with the 50 per cent rebate on April 30 but some industry players saw the move as the first shot in a price war and unleashed a barrage of criticism.

The response was so strong that Fundsupermart scrapped the online sales service after just four days.

Mr Lim told The Straits Times on Tuesday: "A sizeable number of players essentially want to protect the status quo, especially if they have a limited number of products or just insurance products to sell.

"While we had expected some negative reactions, the actual reactions were far stronger and far more emotional than anticipated.

"Given the emotional response from certain parts of the insurance industry, and given the non-readiness of a number of industry players, it is best that we stopped our online insurance offering."

The Straits Times understands that NTUC Income has not received any feedback from financial advisers or customers about Fundsupermart.

Individual financial advisory firms can use different business models when offering insurance.

Life Insurance Association president Annette King said no members or consumers had expressed any concerns regarding Fundsupermart.

She added: "The internal policy guidance concerning rebates offered by representatives is for individual financial adviser firms to manage."

rachaelb@sph.com.sg


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