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Bangladesh - Corporate - March 2, 2024

Insurance agents leaving profession

Insurance lost confidence

Mahfuz Emran : Over 350,000 life insurance agents have become inactive due to not timely claim settlement by their companies. The clients have also lost confidence on insurance due to the same cause, it is identified by the Global Economist Forum, a United Nations general consultant member organisation.
In 2006, Shariful Islam (pseudonym) chose the insurance profession as an agent. He went from village to village and brought hundreds of low-income people under insurance. These customers pay insurance premium by Tk 1,00, Tk 2,00 or Tk 5,00 per month. After 10 years, these insurance policies expire. Month after month, even year after year, the company does not pay the insurance claims of the customers.
The customers became bitter and annoyed and harassed Shariful in various ways. At one point, the insurance agent stopped insuring new customers. At the same time, they try to collect the claim money of the customers who have insured through him in various ways. Mentally broken Shariful was forced to leave the profession.
Not only Shariful, thousands of insurance agents have faced this kind of bitter experience. Many door-to-door agents insuring low-income people have suffered the bitter experience of not being able to pay their claims at the end of the term. Many have left the profession in anger. According to the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), the regulatory body of the insurance sector, the number of inactive agents in 22 life insurance companies is 322,388 people.
When asked about leaving the insurance profession, Shariful Islam said, “It felt good when I started working as an agent after passing HSC. I used to sell new policies, I used to get commission money. This increases the interest in selling policies. But at the end of the term when the customer doesn’t get the claim money, all the happiness ends. The customer who did not get the claim money kept harassing me in various ways. The situation is such that it becomes difficult to stay at home.
He said, those who got insurance through me, they paid a lot of money. When they don’t get that money back at the end of the term, naturally they get angry.
I accepted everything at one point. If someone says something, I understand and tolerate it. Stop selling new insurance policies. My confidence in insurance is completely gone.
He also said, I brought 500 people under insurance within a short time of starting work. If the insurance company had paid the claim amount to the customers on time, it would have been possible to bring many people under the insurance cover. But now people get upset when they hear the name of insurance because the company doesn’t pay the claim on time.
Moheshpur upazila of Jhenaidah district. Jewel is a van driver by profession. Buy an insurance policy with hard earned money. Even though he deposited all the premium money as per the rules, he did not receive the insurance money even after more than six months passed after the expiry of the term.
In this regard, Jewell said that all the documents have been sent to the company through which I got the insurance. You will get it when the company sends the check. Traveling for more than six months, but not getting insurance money. I insured the van with driving money, now I am not getting that money back. I am trying to contact the company through various channels, but it is not working.
The agent through whom Jewel bought the insurance policy was then contacted. This insurance worker named Ujjwal said, I am a child of a decent family. I have committed a sin while working as an insurance worker. Every day people come home for insurance money. Even though the company has sent all the documents to the customers as per the rules, it is going month after month, not paying the claim money. We have nothing to do here. How can we pay if the company does not pay?
Meanwhile, according to the report prepared by IDRA, the most inactive agents are in Delta Life Insurance. The number of inactive insurance agents in this life insurance company is 124,619 people. Next is Met Life, a foreign-owned company. 69,508 agents of this insurance company are inactive.
The number of inactive agents in Pragati Life Insurance is 46,800 people. 45,999 agents have become inactive in Jibon Bima Corporation, the only government-owned life insurance company. There are 10,444 inactive agents in Prime Islami Life Insurance.
Besides, 3,472 people in Rupali Life, 1,683 people in Meghna Life, 1,381 people in Guardian Life, 2,369 people in Chartered Life, 2,733 people in National Life, 259 people in Protective Islami Life, 4,044 people in Alfa Islami Life, 1,610 people of Zenith Islami Life, 3,251 people of Homeland Life, 20 people of Astha Life, 597 people of Fareast Islami Life, 1,129 people of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of Bangladesh, 447 people of Diamond Life, 140 people of Mercantile Islami Life, 1,461 agents are inactive in Thanthi Life and 422 in Sunflower Life.
As the insurance companies do not pay the claims as per the rules, many people are leaving the insurance profession due to customer harassment. According to the IDRA report, more than 322,000 agents are inactive, is it good for the insurance sector?
When asked such questions, Anwarul Haque, who currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Delta Life told, “More than three lakh inactive agents is not good for the insurance sector.” But they are commission based. There are many who work seasonally, and are also in other jobs.
He said, ‘Most of our insurance companies are not paying claims on time and many are not able to pay at all. This is a big problem in the insurance sector. That’s why many people don’t get respect from this profession. Customers are disrespected, so they may become inactive. It is also inactive for various reasons. But the main reason is (harassment by customers for non-payment of claims).’
When asked about the reason for the most inactive agents in Delta Life, he said, “From the birth of the company, we have all the information. We have kept that information. The company is 37 years old. This is why the number is high. Here the old number is more. New inactive less us. We may not do a huge business, but we have no complaints about paying claims. We are making demands regularly and we have that capacity.
CEO of Zenith Islami Life and joint general secretary of Bangladesh Insurance Forum SM Nuruzzaman told, “The rate of payment of insurance claims of some companies is very bad. Due to these companies, the entire insurance sector is getting a bad name. Spreading in the market, insurance companies do not pay. Many times, customers who do not get their claim money get angry with the agents. This may be a reason behind the insurance workers leaving the profession.
He said, ‘When multiple companies do badly in a sector, its impact falls on the entire sector. Non-payment of claims properly has become a major problem in the insurance sector. Even those who are doing well are getting a bad name because some companies are not paying their customers’ claims.
IDRA spokesperson Jahangir Alam told, “Agents often get into trouble locally because the company does not pay the claim amount properly. If you insure a person, if you fail to pay his receipts at the time of receipt, then he will not have trust or confidence in you. That’s how it happened.
What is your initiative to solve this problem? When asked, he said, “Our initiative is always there.” Insurance claim payment gives IDRA maximum authority. Now the problem is long-standing, it will not be solved quickly. IDRA is working in this regard with highest priority.

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