Consumer group urges regulator to curb premium hikes

Advocate lambasts several “unfair” industry practices

Consumer group urges regulator to curb premium hikes

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A Malaysian consumer advocacy group has called on the country’s central bank and financial regulator to help arrest the rapid rise in insurance premium prices.

The National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) recently sent a letter to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), alleging that insurers have been raising premiums to a degree that consumers are finding it hard to pay them, Free Malaysia Today reported.

“Policyholders need time to adjust to the premium increase,” said Baskeran Sithamparam, NCCC senior manager.

Baskeran added that huge premium hikes increase the chance of customers being unable to pay, causing policies to lapse, and that BNM should strictly regulate premiums and justify any increases with the regulator.

He also drew attention to insurers denying claims for certain medical treatments, as well as instructing customers to pay out-of-pocket first before making a claim later, describing these practices as “unfair”.

“The ‘pay first, claim later’ practice should be abolished. It should not be applicable when a medical card has been provided,” Baskeran said.

The consumer advocate said that BNM must be more vigilant and look to protect policyholders first and foremost, as well as provide affordable medical insurance to low-income populations. 

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