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Bangladesh - 3 weeks ago

Insurance companies lost customers’ confidence

Life insurers lost 25 pc, general lost 69 pc clients

Staff Correspondent: Mahmud buys an insurance policy from an insurance company hoping for future assurance. Save a part of the money earned through hard work and pay the insurance policy regularly for 10 years. Even though he did not make any irregularities in paying the premium, now he is not getting the refund of the insurance claim. He has to move door to door to get the insurance money back.
Mahmudsaid that the agent of the insurance company said during the sale of the policy that at the end of the term, you will get double the amount with profit. My policy has expired more than six months ago. Going again and again to the company man, but not getting the insurance money. Buy an insurance policy with the money earned through harder working. Now I am not getting that money back. I don’t know when I will get the money back.
“Not only me, many people in my area have expired insurance policies, they are also not getting refund. The person through whom I bought the insurance policy can’t say when I will get the money. He just says – you will get it only if you send a check from the head office. It is not possible for us to contact the head office’- said the victim.
Not only Mahmud, thousands of customers in different parts of the country are facing various difficulties to get insurance claim money. Most of the insurance companies doing business in the country are not properly paying the insurance claims to the customers on time. As a result, people’s interest in insurance is decreasing. Insurance companies are also constantly losing customers.
Compared to 10 years ago, life insurance companies currently have about 3 million fewer insurance policies. And in general insurance companies, there are about 2.2 million fewer insurance policies compared to five years ago. The insurance policy decline rate in life insurance companies is around 25 percent. And general insurance companies have a policy decline rate of over 69 percent.
On the other hand, many times the customers are harassing the local agent without getting the insurance money. As a result, many agents of insurance companies are leaving the profession. According to the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), the regulatory body of the insurance sector, 322,388 agents in 22 life insurance companies have become inactive. That is, they are no longer working.
A review of the data shows that at the end of 2015, the number of active insurance policies in life insurance companies was 1 crore 15 lakh 22 thousand. At the end of March this year, the number of policies decreased to 86 lakh 57 thousand. That is, compared to 10 years ago, the number of policies in life insurance companies has decreased by 28 lakh 65 thousand. Policy reduction rate is 24.86 percent.
In 2015, life insurance companies issued 17 lakh 39 thousand new policies. The next year in 2016, 19 lakh 32 thousand new policies were issued. Since then, new policy issues in companies have been decreasing.
18 lakh 39 thousand new policies were issued in 2017, 17 lakh 75 thousand in 2018, 16 lakh 73 thousand in 2019, 14 lakh 53 thousand in 2020, 15 lakh 51 thousand in 2021 and 17 lakh 71 thousand in 2022. In the last 9 months from July 2023 to March this year, 11 lakh 40 thousand new policies have been issued.
Meanwhile, at the end of March this year, the number of policies in general insurance companies stood at 942,000. 10 years ago in 2015, the number of policies in general insurance companies was 19 lakh 48 thousand. General insurance companies had the highest number of insurance policies in 2019. At the end of that year, the number of policies in general insurance companies was 31 lakh 14 thousand. Since then, the number of policies in general insurance companies has been declining. Compared to 2019, there are currently 21 lakh 72 thousand fewer policies in general insurance companies. The policy reduction rate is 69.75 percent.
When contacted, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asia Insurance, Imam Shaheen told that in 2019, the number of policies in general insurance companies was 31 lakh, but now it has decreased to 9 lakh. This seems unusual to me. The number of insurance policies may be decreasing, but without investigating why, it can’t be said.
According to the IDRA report, the number of agents in life insurance companies in 2022 was 5 lakh 27 thousand 712 people. Before that, 3 lakh 99 thousand 981 people in 2021, 3 lakh 95 thousand 589 people in 2020, 3 lakh 95 thousand 651 people in 2019 and 3 lakh 58 thousand 604 people in 2018.
At present, the exact information regarding the number of agents in the insurance companies is not available. However, IDRA recently sent a report to the Ministry of Finance stating that 3 lakh 22 thousand 388 agents have become inactive in 22 life insurance companies.
According to a 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 1 lakh 24 thousand 619 people. Next is Met Life, a foreign-owned company. 69,508 agents of this insurance company are currently 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 in Zenith Islami Life, 3,251 people in Homeland Life, 20 people in Astha Life, 597 people in Fareast Islami Life, 1,129 people in Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of Bangladesh, 447 people in Diamond Life, 140 people in Mercantile Islami Life, 1,461 agents in Thanthi Life and 422 agents in Sunflower Life have become inactive.
Sulaiman Hossainworked as an agent in a life insurance company for about 10 years. He brought hundreds of people under insurance by going around the village. Even after paying the regular premium, the customers are being harassed to get the claim money at the end of the term. At one point, the customers harassed the insurance agent in various ways. As a result, he left the insurance profession.
Sulaiman Hossain told that hard-working people save money and buy insurance policies. Even after paying regularly, many of them do not get back the claim amount at the end of the term. Naturally they were angry. I have collected the money due to some customers by communicating through various channels.
Common people stop taking new policies due to harassment by insurance companies. People in our area don’t like to hear the name of Bima now. Everyone thinks insurance companies don’t refund money to customers. Why should people take insurance if they don’t get the claim money?’- said this agent.
A chief executive officer (CEO) of an insurance company told on condition of anonymity that all life insurance companies, big and small, have been accused of not paying their claims properly. In rural areas, customers harass agents in various ways for not getting their claim money. As a result, agents are not approaching customers to renew policies and are playing a passive role. Most of the agents of life insurance companies are inactive now. This reduces the number of new policy issues. Due to which the number of insurance customers is also decreasing.
Pragati Life Chief Executive Officer (CEO) asked to know the reason for the decrease in the number of new insurance policy issues. Jalalul Azim told that many policies lapse, which is one of the reasons for the low number of active policies. Some companies are not able to pay their customers at all. This is having a negative impact on the insurance sector as a whole. People will lose interest in insurance if they don’t get paid. That is what is happening. As a result, the number of policies is decreasing.
When asked about the way out, he said, I don’t see any way out of this situation. Because, here is the lump at the beginning. In the context of Bangladesh there should not be more than 10 life insurance companies. But there are 35 companies in the country. There is not enough manpower to run insurance companies. Laws and regulations are not proper. Many companies are running away with customers’ money, they are not being prosecuted. So how does it fix it?
In response to a question, Jalalul Azim said that it has become difficult for insurance companies to get agents in rural areas. Agents of those companies who have been taking money from customers for 10-15 years are now unable to return the claim money at the end of the term, the agents of those companies are sleeping at home under the pressure of customers. no People are catching him (the agent). After seeing these, no one will work in this profession. Due to this, the entire sector has fallen into a bad state.
Anwarul Haque, current CEO of Delta Life, told that more than 300,000 inactive agents are 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. Besides, many people become inactive for some reason. But the main reason is (harassment by customers for non-payment of claims).
CEO of Zenith Islami Life and Joint General Secretary of Bangladesh Insurance Forum SM Nuruzzaman said that the insurance claim payment rate of some companies is very poor. Due to these companies, the entire insurance sector is getting a bad name. The word is spreading in the market that the insurance company does not refund the money. Many times, customers who do not get their claim money get angry with the agents. This can also be the reason behind insurance workers leaving the profession.
He said, when more than one company does badly in a sector, its impact falls on the entire sector as a whole. Non-payment of claims properly has become a major problem in the insurance sector. With some companies defaulting on customer claims, even those doing well are getting a bad name.
IDRA spokesperson Jahangir Alam said that customers are decreasing, customer confidence is losing, these are very normal things. Efforts should be made to get out of such situations. We are working towards that goal.
“Insurance customers will besiege the agents’ houses if they don’t get the claim money back, that’s what the customers are doing. This will make it difficult for insurance companies to find agents, which is what it is. IDRA is taking strict action in this regard.

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