TAKING out an insurance policy against illness or death is an important decision for any individual.
Since many people tend not to consider such unwelcome outcomes, the result is often a neglect of such precautionary measures.
Yet that inattention does nothing to minimise the need for proper and adequate insurance coverage.
It in fact attests to and compounds the glaring lack of personal coverage among Malaysians.
The insurance industry is only too aware of this lack, so it is expected to do what it can to overcome that by improving the appeal of their policies.
Nonetheless, the conduct of some insurance companies leaves much to be desired.
Through their fine print and technical jargon, they often leave their clients in the lurch when the particular nature of the illness is somehow excluded from the coverage the insured persons thought they had.
For this to happen when the costs of medical care and hospitalisation are rising is unconscionable.
For it to also happen when these insurance companies' clients have only just suffered life-threatening illness is unpardonable.
Where are the laws and other safeguards to prevent paying clients from being outfoxed by mean-spirited insurers?
The Financial Mediation Bureau and the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia are doing a share of damage control.
But evidently more needs to be done, since many disappointments continue to occur.
Surely insurance companies do not need to go this low to stay in business?
To prevent future abuses of insurance practice, a list of such contentious cases should be available online for public reference.
The list should mention the nature of each case of customer dissatisfaction, the insurance companies' position and any course of action taken.
The information should be purely objective and case-specific, without containing any judgment or opinion.
With the name of the insurance company mentioned clearly in each case, those companies most frequently involved with fights with clients over claims would be clear.
Potential clients can then decide accordingly on which insurers to consider in taking out a policy.
Since many Malaysians have still to take out policies, how they decide on which insurers to trust could be decisive in raising standards in the industry.
And from all that we can see, standards badly need to be raised for the benefit of all concerned.