Identity Theft in Insurance

In the development of today’s technology people are more aware of the existence of fraudulent acts, hacks and scams especially in the cyber world. In the vastness of the internet, someone out there is trying to find their fortune taking advantage of their technological intelligence. Since the details in our lives are almost all in sync within the internet, it would be critical if someone breaks our information and data. I know you would agree that it can even cost us our lives.

Last May, 2015, one of the clients of Axis Capital, with a group of insurance and reinsurance companies based in Bermuda and has branches all over the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia and in almost ten states in North America, complained of the change of her physical address registered with the company.

Upon rechecking, it was confirmed that a person had called her agent requesting to change the address. The person, who happened to be a fraud, was able to verify the identity information of the client and was able to provide confidential information therefore, the request, was permitted. The client, who personally came to the head office, was then adamant that she had never authorized anyone to change her location nor did she make any phone calls with the agent. She was reviewing her accounts and policies when she saw the change of address. Fortunately, no loans were transacted and no significant cash value lost. After a long negotiation, both parties agreed to continue their partnership while the client didn’t accept any compensation the company tried to offer, insisting that there is no loss. In response, Axis has now fully installed a new security system and an overhaul and rechecking of other accounts to prevent any other possible scam to happen in the future.

Reports similar to identity theft using information included in insurance policies also exist not only in developed countries. In Jakarta, Indonesia, a man was put to prison when he claimed a policy for accident insurance which never happened. It turned out that he was also not the real client but a theft.

Question is, how can a client know he is safe with his insurance company? Review your policies more often than you have been. This is a new and troubling direction for fraud, which may have delays from the date of occurrence until you are notified in writing or email—or at all.

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Staged Car Accidents

car-accident

Car accidents are the least desirable thing that could happen to a motorist. No one ever wants to happen it to them. But this seems to be not the case to everyone. There are those who would risk their lives – and the lives of others- in desperate plea for an insurance claim.

Axis Capital, with a group of insurance and reinsurance companies from its main branch in Bermuda to its branches in the United Kingdom, United States, Singapore and Australia, has these warning signs for you to avoid being scammed by staged car accidents:

 

Types of Accident Scams

1. The T-Bone Accident
In this scenario, a scam artist will wait for your car to proceed through an intersection and then jam the gas pedal and T-bone your vehicle. When the police arrive, phony witnesses, also known as “shady helpers,” will then claim you were the one who ran the stop sign or traffic signal. This kind of scam mostly happens in traffic-congested areas such as the central Jakarta, Indonesia or Tokyo, Japan.

2. The Wave
In this scam, the other driver will notice your attempt to switch lanes and subsequently wave you ahead. As you attempt to maneuver into the lane, he will accelerate, causing a collision with your car. When the police arrive, he will deny ever providing a courtesy wave, placing you at fault.

3. Dual Turn Sideswipe
A driver in the outer lane of the dual turn rams into you if you go even the slightest bit out of the inner lane as the two of you are making your turns. They may also drive a bit into your lane and swipe your car and then blame you.
“Witnesses” working with the con artist may corroborate his story.

4. Brake Slam
This simple scam involves the driver in front of you slamming on their brakes for no reason so that you cannot avoid rear-ending her vehicle.

5. Swoop and Stop
In this scenario, a car will suddenly pull in front of yours and stop. Another vehicle will simultaneously pull up alongside your car, preventing you from swerving to avoid an accident.

6. Phony Injuries
In any fraudulent accident, you may find yourself on the hook for injuries you didn’t cause. The con artists and their passengers may collaborate with a shady physician or chiropractor and file personal injury claims for phony injuries.

Some may even visit legitimate doctors and claim whiplash or other “soft tissue injuries,” which are difficult to detect.

Staged car accident scam artists are vulnerable to facts. The more information you provide, the more equipped you are to fight an insurance scam.

Insurance Regulation in Asia Pacific

data-center-asia-pacificEvery country has their own requirement in insurance policies just as individual insurance provider has their own terms and agreements and different individuals have different premiums to review. Factors like geography, economy and need are being considered in every transaction. Axis Capital, with a group of insurance and reinsurance companies across the global starting from its main office in Bermuda to its branches in Australia, United Kingdom, over 10 states in the United States and Singapore knows the pressure of registering different insurance policies in each country. For those who would want to know the policyholder’s protection in each nation, here are the general guidelines:

Australia

Life insurer – Life insurers are required to maintain statutory funds, which act as a mechanism for quarantining the life insurance business of the company from any other business of the company.

General insurer – APRA administers the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS), which makes payments to certain policyholders with valid claims on an insolvent general insurer. The Government funds the payments made under the scheme and then seeks recovery from the general insurer in the winding up process. Any shortfall may be recovered through a levy on the general insurance sector.

China

In the event of insolvency or revocation of license of a nonlife insurer whose assets are insufficient to pay benefits, a non-life policyholder protection fund covers 100 per cent of losses up to RMB50,000 and thereafter, 90 per cent of losses for individual policyholders and 80 per cent for corporate policyholders.

In the event of insolvency or revocation of license of a life insurer, the policies are required to be transferred to a new insurer and the policyholder protection fund will make up the shortfall in supporting assets to 90 per cent of individual policyholder liabilities and 80 per cent of corporate policyholder liabilities.

Indonesia

With most of its insurance companies located in the country’s capital, Jakarta, each insurance company must form its own protection fund as a means of ‘last resort’ to protect the interests of policyholders. The protection fund must constitute at least 20 per cent of the insurer’s capital plus 20 per cent of annual premiums. The funds representing the protection fund must be deposited with a bank.

The insurance law gives policyholders preferential rights in a liquidation procedure ahead of secured and unsecured creditors but behind preferred creditors (tax liabilities and employee compensation).

The Financial Services Authority, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan or OJK Regulation No. 1 of 2013 gives a policyholder the right to report a complaint to the OJK with an indication of a dispute between an insurance company with a policyholder and/or an alleged violation of the financial laws and regulations. Further, it also requires insurance companies to have annual program on customers and/or public education to promote financial (insurance) literacy.

Data Breach and Insurance

Scams can already be done online in today’s generation. A lot of hackers, and computer specialists exist and are continuously growing in number that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has already deployed a department specifically for this field of fraudulent acts. Computer tactics has already been included in the curriculum of criminology classes.

The biggest sector involved in cyber hacking are private companies and government institutions. Companies that have suffered a data breach look to their insurance policies for coverage to help mitigate some of the enormous costs. The application of standard form commercial general liability (CGL) policies to data breach incidents has led to various legal actions and differing opinions.

Insurance companies like Axis Capital, with a group of insurance and reinsurance companies all from its main branch in Bermuda, Singapore, Australia, Europe and on more than 10 states in United States of America has also developed their system to meet the demands on cyber insurance.

Hackers are traced back to developing cities like Beijing, China, Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand. Illegal acts are being done in internet cafes, a good public place from which the IP address is not traceable

 

Cyber Security and Insurance

While traditional insurance policies typically have not handled these emerging risks, limited coverage under traditional policies may be available. For example, in general there would be coverage under a traditional property insurance policy if a cyber incident resulted in a covered cause of loss such as a fire that caused property damage.

Traditional property insurance policies often contain express provisions covering damage or disruption to electronic data. The package policy known as the Business Owners Policy (BOP) that is often purchased by medium and smaller-sized businesses includes coverage for electronic data loss.

This means that in the event electronic data is destroyed or damaged as the result of a covered cause of loss, the insurer will pay the cost to replace or restore it. Causes of loss that apply to this coverage include a computer virus, harmful code or other harmful instructions entered into a computer system or network to which it is connected. There is no coverage, however, for loss or damage caused by the actions of any employee.

Reliance on traditional insurance policies is not enough, however, so specialized cyber insurance policies have been developed by insurers to help businesses and individuals protect themselves from an ever-evolving range of risks. Recent market intelligence suggests that the types of specialized cyber coverage being offered by insurers are expanding in response to this fast-growing market need.

Specialized cyber risk coverage is available primarily as a stand-alone policy. Each policy is tailored to the specific needs of a company, depending on the technology being used and the level of risk involved. Both first- and third-party coverage is available.

Life Insurance as a Gift

Halfway through the year and we are already wondering what best gift to give to our loved ones. Have you grown tired to tangible things that only last for a year? Have you run out things to review? If you are thinking of a gift which can last long then, you might want to get a life insurance plan. A good plan can literally be a lifetime gift.

Axis Capital, with a group of insurance and reinsurance companies from its main branch in Bermuda to its branches in Singapore, United Kingdom, America, Europe and Australia gives you reasons to consider life plans as gift:1. It can last a lifetime—and then some. Permanent life insurance provides death benefit protection, creates a living legacy that will accumulate cash value with each passing year, and may help your child or grandchild get a head start on their financial future.2. It won’t wear out or fall apart. The life insurance policy you purchase for your kids or grandkids today can still be there years from now—something those material things can’t provide. It doesn’t matter if you are in Brunei or Jakarta, Indonesia as long as you continue paying your premiums. Just as I stated earlier, it is a lifetime gift.

3. It has accumulation potential. Most gifts lose value over time. A permanent life insurance policy, on the other hand, has the potential to accumulate cash value each year. Cash values can be borrowed for any purpose—to provide a down payment on a first home, to help pay for college, to start a business or even to help fund a comfortable retirement years down the road. Keep in mind: Loans against your policy will accrue interest and decrease the death benefit and cash value by the amount of the outstanding loan and interest, withdrawals reduce the available death benefit.

4. There are tax advantages. Under current law, cash values that accumulate in a life insurance policy are tax deferred. Even when cash values are borrowed, there may be no tax consequences in many instances. Also, proceeds received by beneficiaries are generally not taxable as income. Talk with your tax advisor for more details.

5. Premium rates may never be lower. Premiums generally increase with age, but with permanent life insurance, it’s possible to lock in the premium at the insured person’s current age – for life.

Specialty Insurance

With much insurance existing in the market nowadays, you cannot be blamed if you get confused. Homeowner’s insurance, automobile and life insurance to name a few but there are also specialty insurance policies that some customers may find useful. Let Axis Capital Group of insurance and reinsurance companies scattered around the world from our main base in Bermuda to Australia, Europe, America and Singapore explain further what this specific insurance is.

In simple terms, specialty insurance is exactly what it sounds like. It is insurance that is purchased for items that are special or unique. It is also used to provide protection for items that might otherwise be protected under another policy but are not protected because of some unusual aspect. For example, a diamond necklace might be protected under the home owner’s insurance policy but what if the necklace is with you while you are traveling and it is stolen or broken? A specialty insurance policy on the necklace (and only on the necklace) can provide the protection that you need for that item no matter where you are.

A little warning though before you talk with your insurance company, specialty insurance policies are not available with all insurance carriers and that means that you may have to do some research and review in order to find the best carrier for the item that you wish to insure. In America, you are likely to find insurance easier than you can in developing cities like Singapore or Jakarta, Indonesia. Large insurance companies may carry your specialty insurance as long as you are willing to pay the price.

Other, less famous, carriers are available, but you will probably have to search for them. This can be done online, if you wish.

Another way to find reputable insurance carriers is to ask the people from which you bought the item. Chances are good these vendors will have some contacts that you can explore.

Specialty items that you might want to consider insuring include such things as: exotic animals, artwork, coin collections, antique watches or other time pieces, collectable automobiles, various pieces of jewelry, historical documents, antique furniture pieces, rare books, and any other unique item or items that you may have.

Specialty insurance is not as expensive as many people believe it to be. When the amount of loss is considered, it can actually be a great value in terms of replacement as well as in terms of emotional comfort. Knowing your unique items are insured can go a long way in relieving stress.

Unemployment Insurance Eligibility

We sometimes find ourselves unemployed for some reason. It may either be we want to explore another field of our expertise or for untoward accidents like health issues. Axis Capital, with a group of insurance and reinsurance companies scattered around the world from its main base in Bermuda to Singapore, Australia, United Kingdom and more than 10 states in the United States, emphasizes the importance of getting unemployment insurance during the times of strict financial needs and jobless days. The question is, are you qualified enough to take advantage of UI?

Depending on the law in each city, UI is often given for 3-6 months of unemployment. In developing cities like Jakarta, Indonesia, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the insurance can last until a year provided that the reason is valid. It is best to review the stated respective decree in your location to avail the said insurance. An individual must meet all unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility requirements in order to receive benefit payments. Eligibility requirements must be met when a UI claim is filed and whenever a certification is submitted before benefits can be paid by the Employment Development Department (EDD).

An individual who files for UI benefits must meet specific eligibility requirements before benefits can be paid. Individuals must:

• Have received enough wages during the base period to establish a claim.*

• Be totally or partially unemployed.

• Be unemployed through no fault of his/her own. This includes no record of complaints, termination or negative records.

• Be physically able to work.

• Be available for work.

• Be ready and willing to immediately accept work.

• Be actively looking for work.

• Be approved for training before training benefits can be paid.

Employers report wages to the EDD for each employee. The EDD uses this information to decide if an individual earned enough wages in a base period to establish a UI claim.

An individual must meet eligibility requirements each week that they certify for benefits. Individuals must be:

• Physically able to work.

• Available for work.

• Ready and willing to immediately accept work.

• Actively looking for work each week benefits are claimed.

An individual must certify for benefits by submitting a certification online, over the phone, or by mail. If the information on the certification shows that the individual did not meet eligibility requirements, the EDD will schedule a phone interview. Based on the information obtained, benefits may be reduced or denied. An individual who disagrees with the EDD’s decision to reduce or deny benefits may file an appeal.