Over the last four days, thousands of people have gone down to the AIA office to surrender their policies. With the news so widely publicised, many more have been influenced to surrender their AIA policies.
This is a classic case of herd mentality at work. Sometimes, it’s also referred to as the “madness of crowds“.
If you have an AIA/AIG policy or hold some unit trust by AIG, you should look at all the factors carefully before you do anything.
The parent AIG had serious liquidity problems and was in danger of failing. They have been bailed out for the time being with a loan $80 billion loan from the US government.
AIA Insurance Policy Holders
If you own an endowment plan or whole life plan that has cash values, note that:
However, if there is a mass cancellation of policies that AIA can’t pay with its immediate cash, they will have to sell some assets (equities or bonds) from the insurance fund to pay the redemptions. Selling at current low prices might have an impact on the performance of their funds.
If you own a whole life policy, you should also consider some of these factors:
1) Whether you still need the insurance coverage.
2) The cost of surrendering and getting a new policy.
3) Whether you are still insurable at standard terms if you want to get a new policy.
If you intend to get a new policy, it is advisable to get a new one before surrendering your old policy.
If you hold an AIA term, PA or hospitalization plan or AIG general insurance plan that has no cash value, the same thing applies. You should get the replacement cover first before you surrender them.
For endowment plans, you should decide whether it makes sense to cash out the policy now. Will you be able to achieve your original savings objectives without the plan?
AIG Unit Trust Holders
The assets of the unit trust are all held in a trust account with a separate company. While falling equity prices will affect the valuation of the underlying assets, these assets are protected from creditors should AIG fail.
Change of Mind
If you have already surrendered your policy and would like to change your mind, AIA is offering a no penalty reinstatement offer. Policy holders who surrendered their policies from Sept 15 to 19 can request for reinstatement without 14 days of their surrender.
These policies will be reinstated in full as if they have never been surrendered. No interest will be charged on back premium and cash value returned to AIA.
Before you do anything, do consult your AIA advisor. And if you finally decide to surrender your policy, you don’t really have to waste one whole day of your time queuing up to do it. Contact your AIA advisor, get the required forms from him and he can surrender your policy for you.