Individuals, who have purchased insurance policies, are often left in the lurch by missing agents, when it comes to servicing their policies. An agent acts as a link between the policyholder and the insurance company. However, sometimes, once the agent has sold you a policy, he is no longer interested in servicing it, leaving the policyholder in the middle of nowhere. The insurance industry calls such policy holders â€œOrphan Policyholdersâ€ (OPS).
What creates OPS
Before looking at the solutions to the problem of missing agents, letâ€™s examine some of the reasons why OPS come into existence.
Lack of interest: Often agents become disinterested midway through servicing a policy because they are unable to meet their overall performance targets i.e. they are not able to sell an adequate number of policies in spite of repeated attempts. This is probably because â€˜Insurance is never bought, but always soldâ€™. Also agents sometimes neglect servicing a policy once issued because the renewal commission is comparatively low, and leave them dissatisfied.
Part Time Agents: Individuals often get attracted to becoming part-time agents because of the lure of high commissions, flexible timings and very low capital investment. But a large number of part-time agents, being housewives, working individuals, retired persons and students, may opt out later due to other commitments.
Revoke License: As per Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) regulations, an insurance agentâ€™s license must be renewed periodically. In case it is not renewed, it gets revoked.
Know your agent: Before buying a policy from an agent, understand his background and track record. This will give you some idea about the probability of him being available to service your policy later. Preferably opt for a full time agent who can regularly be in touch with.
Contact the insurer: Donâ€™t hesitate to approach the insurance company for any assistance either through email, web support or the contact center set up by the insurance company. The company will be able to provide you with suitable solutions.
Increase your awareness: Individuals sometimes are not aware of the features of the policy they have bought. Most of the times, they just buy a policy on the basis of the agentâ€™s advice. This could cause problems. Make sure that the agent is giving solutions for your needs and not just offering a policy that fetches him the highest commission.
Use the internet: Understand the policies available with other companies, by scanning through insurance companiesâ€™ websites for valuable information. Use online calculators or premium quotations on insurance company websites to understand your need and whether the right premium has been quoted.
Beyond an agent
Individuals must take on the responsibility of managing their own financial portfolio by understanding and gathering adequate knowledge before investing in any financial asset. And while insurance agent may become a friend, philosopher and guide over the years, remember, he is never indispensable. He only represents an insurance company, which in turn is bound to service your needs.