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Consumer Affairs
Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Note for policyholders

The purpose of the Policyholder Protection Rules for both long-term and short-term insurers is “to enable the policyholder to make informed decisions”, and “to ensure that intermediaries and insurers conduct their business honestly and fairly with due care and diligence.”

According to Sage Life the rules are intended to commence operation from October 2000, although “it is possible they may commence at a later date.”
Policyholders will be afforded various rights and the following is the proposed ‘Statutory notice’ that will be handed to them.
As a long-term insurance policyholder, or prospective policyholder, you have the right to the following information:

1 — The intermediary (insurance broker or representative) dealing with you must at the earliest reasonable opportunity disclose:

(a) Name, physical and postal address and telephone number
(b) Legal capacity: whether independent or representing an insurer or brokerage
(c) Concise details of relevant experience
(d) Insurance products that may be sold
(e) Insurers whose products may be marketed
(f) Indemnity cover held - Yes/No
(g) Shareholdings in insurers if 10% or more
(h) Name of insurers from which the intermediary received 30% or more of total commission and remuneration during the past calendar year

(The intermediary must be able to produce proof of contractual relationship with and accreditation by the insurers concerned.)

2 — Your right to know the impact of the decision you elect to make:
(a) The intermediary or insurer dealing with you must inform you of:
• The premium you may be paying
• The nature and extent of benefits you may receive
(b) If the benefits are linked to the performance of certain assets:
• How much of the premium will go towards the benefit? To what portfolio will your benefits be linked?
(c) The possible impact of this purchase on your finances
(d) The possible impact of this purchase on your other policies (affordability)
(e) The possible impact of this purchase on your investment portfolio (affordability)
(f) The flexibility of changes you may make to the proposed contract
(g) The contract terms of the product you intend to purchase
(It is very important that you are quite sure that the product or transaction meets your needs and that you feel you have all the information you need to make a decision.)

3 — Your right when being advised to replace an existing policy.
You may not be advised to cancel a policy to enable you to purchase a new policy or amend an existing policy, unless:
(a) The intermediary identifies the policy as a replacement policy
(b) The implications of cancellation of the policy are disclosed to you such as:
• The influence on your benefits under the old policy
• The additional costs incurred with the replacement
(c) The insurer that issued the original policy will contact you, you are advised to discuss the matter with its representative

4 — Your right to be informed by the insurer.

The insurer will forward you documentation confirming policy details as discussed in paragraph 2 of this Notice, which will also include:
(a) The name of the insurer.
(b) The product being purchased.
(c) The cost in rands of the transaction and specifically:
(i) the loadings, if any;
(ii) the initial expense; and
(iii) the amount of commission and other remuneration being paid to the intermediary.
(d) in the case of policies with an investment element, the ongoing expense and any other fees or charges payable.
• The summary in terms of section 48 of the Long-term Insurance Act, 1998
• The contact number and address of the complaints and compliance officers of the insurer

(The insurer may disclose the above information on a generic basis with additional
policyholder specific disclosure).

5 — Your right to cancel the transaction.

In most cases, you have a right to cancel a policy within 30 days after receipt of the summary contemplated in section 48 from the insurer. The same applies to certain changes you may make to a policy. The insurer is obliged to confirm to you whether you have this right and to explain how to exercise it. Please bear in mind that you may not exercise it if you have already claimed under the policy or if the event, which the policy insures you against, has already happened. If the policy has an investment component, you will carry any investment loss.

6 — Serious warning.

• It is very important that you are quite sure that the product or transaction meets your needs and that you feel you have all the information you need before making a decision
• It is recommended that you discuss with the intermediary or insurer the possible impact of the proposed transaction on your finances, your other policies or your broader investment portfolio. You should also ask for information about the flexibility of any proposed policy
• Where paper forms are required, it is advisable to sign them only once they are fully completed. Feel free to make notes regarding verbal information, and to ask for written confirmation or copies of documents
• Remember that you may contact either the Long-term Insurance Ombudsman or the Registrar of Long-term Insurance, whose details are set out below, if you have any concerns regarding a product sold to you or advice given to you.

7 — Particulars of Long-term Insurance Ombudsman
P O Box 45007
Tel: (021) 674-0330
Fax: (021) 674-0951

8 — Particulars of Registrar of Long-term Insurance

Financial Services Board
P O Box 35655
Tel: (012) 428-8000
Fax: (012) 347-0221


Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:13.7 1st August, 2000
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