“I detest life-insurance agents: they always argue that I shall someday die, which is not so.” –Stephen Leacock
Insurance in the Philippines has been something most individuals have been avoiding like the plague. Whether they do wish to accrue an extraneous expense or simply do not see the necessity for it is up to their reasoning, but what happens when you do decide to purchase insurance? How can you guarantee that your insurance agent is someone you can trust? Well, it might not be easily evident, and there are no concrete signs that would warn you. However, there are definitive red flags you can watch out for that would likely tell you that you are dealing with a dishonest agent who might be doing some under the table dealings—or worse, downright illegal.
Have a keen eye out for these signs and avoid getting yourself into insurance scams:
1.) An agent that is incredibly aggressive
While agents are expected to be enthusiastic about their work, they are not supposed to be overly aggressive in pushing you to buy a policy right away. Whether they bully you to it, sweet-talk you with “only today” deals or the like, your insurance agent should never pressure you into buying a policy immediately. Instead, a proper agent would be more patient in explaining the various options available and would give you as much time as you need to evaluate each and every one of them.
2.) An agent thirty quotes a seemingly low premium
Be wary of agents who would sell policies at incredibly low premium prices (or even ones that seem much lower than your previous premium). If it is too good to be true, it probably is, so it would do you well to be meticulous and double check. Take note, insurance premiums may vary from one insurer to another, but they usually fall within a close range of rates.
3.) An agent who is hard to reach
Your agent does not have to be at your beck and call at all times, but a legitimate one would respond to your phone calls or emails within a reasonable time (within a day or two). Furthermore, your agent should have a valid email address. Avoid the ones that communicate to you exclusively on the phone or his or her personal email address.
4.) An agent who avoids being questioned about his experience or credentials
While your agent can be relatively new, he or she should be able to provide their license numbers which you can then verify by contacting your state’s insurance authority. If an agent balks at being questioned about his experience in the field or his credentials, there is something potentially fishy going on. It might be wiser to find another agent.
5.) An agent that adds coverages to your policies that you did not approve
Agents would earn commissions from insurers on the premiums you purchase. For this reason, unscrupulous agents would try to get you to buy premiums that have a hefty price tag as this would mean more commission for them. Particularly notorious are those agents who would add coverages to your policy without your knowledge have not requested or did not approve. Considering this, it is always best if you scrutinize your policies carefully and see if it contains anything you have no request, approved or wanted.
6.) An agent that asks you to pay for premiums payable to him or her
This is a definitive red flag. Whatever premium payments you make should always be payable to the insurer and should be directed to the same. Your checks should not be payable to the agent and if you leave any payments to your agent at all, demand for a receipt. In the worst case scenario wherein an agent would run off would your premium payments, you would at least have the receipt to serve as evidence.