This article was written in partnership with DIYInsurance. All views expressed in the article is the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg. DIYInsurance is Singapore’s first insurance comparison platform.
In recent years, getting a life or health insurance policy directly from an insurance company, also known as a direct purchase insurance (DPI), or buying it through platforms such as DIYInsurance have become increasingly popular among consumers.
Contrary to popular thinking, buying insurance policies directly from an insurer or through a comparison platform isn’t a new concept. For example, if you are a frequent traveller who buy your own travel insurance policies through a website, app, or a third-party platform, you would already be buying insurance policies on your own. The same can be said of car owners buying car insurance policies as well as those with domestic helpers purchasing maid insurance.
One misconception that we commonly hear is that policyholders will have little or no support, especially when they most need it, when it comes to making an insurance claim if they bought their policy directly or through a third-party platform.
But just how true is this claim?
When You Buy An Insurance Policy, You Are Buying It From The Insurer, Not Its Agent
The first, and most important distinction, that you need to understand is that when you are buying an insurance policy, you are buying it from the insurer who originated and underwrite the policy. The insurer is contractually bound to honour your claims.
Insurers in Singapore are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), adhering to the strict guidelines set in place to ensure public interest is protected.
On the other hand, it’s important to also note that the agent who sold you the insurance policy is not legally bound to assist you in your claims.
Of course, the good ones will help you out and make the process smoother. That’s what makes them valuable to consumers. However, many insurance claims are only made decades after it was first sold to you. It will be unrealistic to expect that the agent who initially sold you the policy will still be working with the same company, or even in the industry by that time. Agents, like any other individuals, are free to choose the companies they wish to work at and the career path they want to take.
Far from trying to cast doubts, we are raising this point with the intention of pointing out the reasonable scenario that the person who sold you the policy may not always be around to help service your claim.
This is why it’s always important, in our view, to buy the right insurance policies for your needs rather just than to support the person selling it to you. The insurance policy that you buy is tied to the insurer you bought it from, not the person or even intermediary who sold you the policy.
Making A Direct Insurance Claim
As mentioned earlier, it’s a misconception to think that you can only claim on your insurance policies through your assigned agent.
All insurance companies have a claim department, which is separated from its sales or marketing teams. The claim department will look into each and every claim submitted by their policyholders. They will be in-charge of processing your claims, and may ask you for additional information if it’s required.
Since agents deal with claims much more often than most individuals, they may also be able to share with you their claim experience and help you along the way, making the claim process smoother for you.
Do also note that the person assisting you does not have to be the assigned agent to your policy, but any individual who is knowledgeable and willing enough to help.
For more details on what to expect when making a claim, you can refer to the information provided by the Life Insurance Association (LIA) Singapore.
Purchasing And Making An Insurance Policy Claim Through DIYInsurance
When you buy an insurance policy through a platform such as DIYInsurance, you can expect the same high-quality level of support that you (also) get from an insurance agent.
One misconception that some people have is that they think buying through DIYInsurance also means being left on their own to handle their insurance claims. This isn’t true.
In fact, DIYInsurance has a dedicated team in place to help all of its clients with their claims-related queries and processing. The entire team, which have successfully processed many more insurance policies than a single insurance agent, will have the knowledge and experience to offer advice and smoothen the claims process for even the most complicated cases.
This service is on top of the fact that you will have an assigned advisor from DIYInsurance who acts as a contact for your account. If you need advice with regards to a claim, you can approach either the advisor, or the dedicated claim team at DIYInsurance.
To sum it up, platforms like DIYInsurance have reliable structures in place that not only helps clients compare and receive advice on getting covered with the right insurance policies, but to also support their clients when the time comes to make a claim.
We wish to reiterate that in spite of the claim services that may be offered by platforms such as DIYInsurance, or your own agent, you are ultimately buying the insurance policy from the insurer who originated and underwrite it.
This means if you are making a claim, you can, and should, file any claims directly with the insurer whom you bought the policy from, similar to how you would do so for a travel insurance claim.
Hence, don’t be afraid of trying out platforms such as DIYInsurance, or even to buy a direct purchase insurance policy with the insurer whose product you are already interested in getting. At the end of the day, you should read up as much as you can about the products that you are buying, compare it with your peers, seek advice from those you trust and make the best decision for yourself.