Response to Malakai Naiyaga’s statement in Fiji Times (28/11/17) on Bula Life Policy

29/11/2017 09:56

The response by BSP Life in Fiji Times to the Consumer Council of Fiji is not addressing the main issue that was highlighted.

 The Council is pleased that at least BSP Life has acknowledged that they sold insurance policies that matures when a person reaches hundred years. Refunding the money to the complainant is not something to be appreciated. In fact it’s their right to get a redress for a service/product which was sold in a deceptive manner where vital information were not disclosed upfront.

 This group of municipal workers received their refunds because they lodged their complaint with us but there may be other vulnerable consumers out there who have signed up for the same policy and are not aware that the life of the policy expires when they turn 100 years. It is worth noting that although premiums were refunded, the group had lost the interest if they were to save that money in the bank or invest it elsewhere.

 While the Bula Life policy offered by BSP Life has a key use for protection and income replacement for surviving family members, however,  Mr. Naiyaga failed to explain that the Bula Life Policy sold to municipal workers would have matured when they reach 100 years to receive sum insured plus accumulated bonus. These workers were paying their premium for this product from 2014 where few will be retiring soon. For one municipal worker who is already 50 years old, her policy will mature in 2085 and she will be retiring in few years’ time.

 Rather than educating the Council, we suggest they invest their money in designing relevant products; educating insurance agents and disclosing information through a pre-disclosure statement.  

 A major problem is that the insurance agents do not themselves know the policies that they sell and they are renowned for not disclosing all the key aspects of insurance policies.

 Consumers are reminded to exercise caution and be responsible when presented with life policies by insurance agents since pre-disclosure statement is not mandatory. A pre-disclosure statement provides key features of an insurance policy which is much clear when compared to a detailed policy written in small prints.