A reader has shared her frustrating experience with AIA in processing her late mother’s insurance policy payouts.

According to the reader, her mother made coffee for a living. She signed for 3 AIA policies in her 60s before she was struck with dementia in her 70s. She eventually passed away in February 2017 from gangrene poisoning and pneumonia.

Despite the family’s consistent payment of insurance premiums without fail, the family was shocked to receive payouts of “extremely deflated values”.

She shared an example using one of the 3 policies, AIA Financial guardian whole life (participating), which her deceased mother purchased when she was 64 in 1988. The sum assured is $30,000, and the projected death benefit at this point (30 years by 2017) is $67,140.

Although the family has paid $48,362 in total premium over 24 years, for this policy, AIA is paying a death benefit of only $49,731! The discrepancy between $48,362 and $67,140 was at least 25%.

The family is unhappy with the payout and has accused AIA and insurance agents of heavily inflating projected payouts for insurance policies so that insurance agents can “close the deal and line their pockets”.

She shared part of her experience in dealing with AIA, which she claimed was very unproductive and unprofessional:

“I called up the AIA call centre in late March l hoping to get a clarification and a review. “I will look into it and call you back,” the claim department said. That was a promise that was made but never kept. Three weeks later, I called back, hoping there was an update. Nothing.

Finally on 12 April, Hendry Ang from the customer service team called back to ask me what the issues were, clearly indicating that few or no notes were passed to him. I reiterated our dissatisfaction with the payouts and he assured me he would look into the matter.

No news after a week, except a letter sent addressed to my deceased mother asking her to inform them of the change in address…

So I spoke with my siblings and we decided we should try to meet up with the AIA team to understand the situation. I got a few of my family members down to AIA customer service center to speak with the service team on 20 April.

The same Hendry whom I spoke to sat down and asked us, “So, what is the issue with the payout terms that we are unhappy with?” I had thought he was already looking into the issues, but I guess that was wishful thinking on my side. Our problem was but a hot potato passed around from department to department.

He was unable to offer a proper justification, and was just blindly reading off the policy. We were not placated, and he got us to wait for 45 minutes as he escalated the case to his manager, Melissa Liew. When Melissa came into the meeting room, no one would have expected she came in with absolutely no idea what was discussed before. She started with a whisper to Hendry, “So, what is the issue?”
The 2-hour meeting with them yielded nothing and Hendry was stuck with the first policy, being clueless about the remaining two my mother had bought.

All we got from the session were answering-machine responses like ‘we will reflect your requests to our top management’ and ‘we are still investigating.’ In the end, we accepted that they could get back to us after two weeks for a soulful resolution.

Two weeks later. Nothing.

Three and a half weeks later, I received letters in my mailbox stating that AIA will not accede to the request and they have proposed all proceeds in accordance with the policy terms. Claiming that since my mother has signed and added her thumbprint to the policies indicated that she understood the terms, and that since we mentioned no one was around her when she signed these policies, she must have understood the policies. “Since none of you were around when she signed the policies, we cannot ascertain for what reasons she bought the policies and what they are for.” and “The claims are paid in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy contract.”

The pain of losing my mother is still fresh and AIA is not making it easier to cope. Saving up every cent she earned and entrusting them to AIA only to have her legacy eroded.”

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