If you have a habit of ignoring anything that has Aviva, AIA or any other form of insurance branding on letters sent to you, it might be a good idea to stop that now.
Because just like insurance, you’ll never know when you need to know the information inside, such as a change in payment mode.
A widow in Singapore, whose husband was an ex-serviceman, had her insurance claim rejected by Aviva because his insurance policy has lapsed.
Here’s What Happened
The woman’s husband was an ex-officer with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
According to the report, he had died in 2018 at the age of 38 and his death was not linked to his military duties.
Since 1999, he has been making monthly payments for a Mindef and Ministry of Home Affairs Group Insurance via salary deduction.
She was supposed to receive a $1 million benefit in the event of his death under the voluntary component of the policy.
Unfortunately, when she tried to make a claim against the policy, she was told that her claim was rejected because the policy has lapsed without her knowing.
Payment Mode Has Changed
As it turns out, Aviva and Mindef had changed their payment method back in 2017, from direct salary deduction to Giro payment.
This was a way to allow servicemen who have left the force to continue with their policies if they wish to, they said.
According to Mindef, Aviva has sent four reminder letters to the husband to ask him to change his mode of payment between February and October 2017.
When no Giro arrangement was made by Oct 2017, Aviva terminated the plan and issued a termination letter to the family.
No Letters Received
The widow, on the other hand, claims that she has not received any reminder or termination letters from Aviva.
She alleged that the only mail she had received from Aviva was a registered mail last May, informing her that her claim has been rejected.
She also pointed out that Aviva should’ve sent registered mail for the reminder and termination letters as well to ensure that servicemen receive and read through the letters.
“After the first case of an inadvertent policy lapse or failed claim surfaced, why didn’t Aviva or Mindef do more to ensure that servicemen made the payment mode change, especially since this change was not initiated by servicemen?”
Not The Only Case
For its case, Aviva said that they’ve sent out letters, as well as conducted in-camp talks to ensure that every serviceman is aware of the change in payment method for the policies.
About 600 briefings were held from Jul 2016 to Nov 2017, the company added, and servicemen were given six months to make the necessary changes.
When ST asked, both Mindef and Aviva were unable to provide a figure on how many servicemen actually had their policy lapse after the change.
It was mentioned, however, that there were two past cases which had claims rejected because of lapses in their policies.
Meanwhile, the widow said she is contemplating selling her house to raise her young children as her savings had run out, and asked for similar victims to step forward.
If you haven’t, go through your insurance policies again and see if there are any necessary actions you have to make.
You don’t want to have something happen to you, only to realise you’re actually not as well-protected as you thought you were, all because you didn’t pay enough attention to your policies.
Meanwhile, Mindef has said that they’ve fulfilled their obligations when they made a payout of $150,000 to the widow last year and that the matter is now between the insurance company and the widow.