IN RESPONSE to numerous complaints, the Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) and the Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA) yesterday issued 12 guidelines to regulate and control the quality of insurance being sold through bank branches.
Chuchatr Pramoolpol, deputy secretary-general of the OIC, said that as of June 30, the premium income from bancassurance was Bt123.418 billion, representing 45.36 per cent of all insurance distribution channels and up by 6.7 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Bancassurance is one of the most convenient channels for people. However, the OIC has received a lot of complaints. About 30 per cent of the 12,000 complaints a year received by the OIC involve bancassurance. More than half are complaints over misunderstandings, he said.
Buying insurance from bank branches needs to meet the same standards as any other channel and the customers should know their rights, he said. A bank should not use the sale of insurance as a condition in negotiating with customers seeking a loan or other financial transactions, he said.
The OIC and the TBA want to reduce disputes and instil a common understanding.
The 12 guidelines clarify that an insurance policy is not a deposit product of a bank, the buyer can ask to see the licence of bank staff who offer the insurance policy, the buyer has a right to decline to buy insurance and the bank cannot use the purchase of insurance as a condition to approve lending or any transaction.
The insurance buyer can cancel the policy within 15 days after getting the policy and have his or her premiums returned from the bank after deducting expenses.
“The OIC will test the common guidelines for 90 days. It will review that they are sufficient protect the customer, and each bank has to execute [business] in accordance with the guidelines,” Chuchatr said.
Predee Daochai, chairman of the TBA, said its bank members were aware of the guidelines and were advising customers.