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Look for a good advisor before looking for Insurance Plan

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Rohit was an MBA in Finance. Once he got his first job, one of his Aunt Vinita Aunt came home and pressurized him to take Insurance. She told him that how money back plans are best for future tax saving option. Ravi invested Rs. 1.50 lakh in money back plan which had a guaranteed return of 8%.

After 2 years, he did his analysis and was shocked to note that IRR (Internal rate of return) was less than 4%. Rohit questioned her aunt and was surprised that she had no knowledge on Personal finance and she did not understand the meaning of sum assured and rate of return. Rohit closed the plan with loss of Rs. 3 lakh.

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This is not surprising that 65% of Policy holders do not persist with their initial investments in Insurance plans. Reasons of such lower persistency are given below:

Top 5 Reasons of Low Persistency Insurance Policy

  1. Insurance is rarely bought, it is sold by someone who is known to family and questions are not asked.
  2. First year commission on policies are very high up to 40% of premium paid along with many target based incentives. Your family friend gets lured by the commission and incentives then they push sale by asking for an obligation rather understanding your needs.
  3. Getting an IRDA license is very easy and simple. Earlier. IRDA mandated a 100 hour training but later reduced it to 50 hour training. Now any 10th class pass person can become insurance agent and sell insurance policies which is a financial product. It is not surprising that 90% of new agents leave agency within 2 years.
  4. Insurance companies insist on selling policies in natural market by evangelizing insurance business. Officers of Insurance companies accompany new agents to do initial selling in natural market.
  5. Rather a good advise, we get carried over by offers of extra return, sharing of commission, free health cover or attractive gifts.
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This system of simple agency and high termination lead to massive mis selling and fraud thus causing low persistency.

Insurance is like medicine and need advise like that of a Doctor who is qualified with degrees like MBBS. You buy insurance for uncertainties of future by committing regular premium payment for future needs. It is a very serious matter and require long discussions and analysis in same way as we do with Doctors or lawyers. But we give least time and respect to an insurance advisor. We pick an insurance product without doing any analysis to regret later. Later we blame insurance companies and advisors without understanding that we are equally to be blamed. All Insurance contracts come with a clause of Buyer Beware or Caveat Emptor which means that Insurance Buyer must ask questions before buying insurance. Do we really do that? It is also propagated that Insurance is subject matter of solicitation. Do we really understand the meaning of solicitation or just accept luring offers on telephone?

So treat Insurance with seriousness and look for a good advisor in same way as we do for Doctor or lawyer. Would we hand over our surgery to our niece just out of medical college? Would we give our legal case to our nephew who just passed out with law degree?

Steps to look for good insurance advisor:

  1. Check IRDA license and experience in the field.
  2. Ask for three references, speak to them.
  3. Check financial knowledge by asking questions.
  4. Check Insurance Knowledge by asking questions on products suited. You can always validate knowledge through google baba.
  5. Do not commit over 9% of annual income in Insurance. It is experienced that people are not able to continue policies with higher premium.
  6. Check the organising and probing system of your advisor. An advisor,who has come unprepared, not organized, carrying a crumpled bag, will not be able to do justice with your money.
  7. Validate statements. Anyone using words like guarantee, superior returns, premium flexibility is telling a lie and should be avoided.
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Insurance Advisor need to regularly work on knowledge, organizing, communication, service and relationship building. A good advisor would build business for generations by selling you right policy which you will be able to continue for long.

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