Published on: 25 August 2017 by Michael Lamb
Knowing who to trust with your insurance can be a difficult decision. This is especially true with the increasing barrage of adverts and number of companies offering some form of Hong Kong insurance service; which one should you work with?
There are hundreds of websites and companies offering Hong Kong insurance advice and services, and unfortunately some of these will be scams or frauds. We want you to know how to identify reputable organizations which have been approved to operate by Hong Kong’s insurance regulators, and fortunately this can be done in three easy steps!
One of the easiest ways to check the legitimacy of any website offering insurance quotes or services in Hong Kong is to visit the “Contact Us” page.
If there is no Hong Kong address information, no Hong Kong telephone number, and not even an email then the likelihood is that the website may be a scam or at the very least will be selling your information to a third party (because everyone loves telemarketers).
Reputable companies conducting legitimate business have nothing to hide and everything to gain by giving you their address and contact details, so be sure to check! If you can’t get in touch with a company and speak to a real person, how can you trust them to handle your sensitive information?
Some unscrupulous companies run extensive website networks, with dozens of insurance websites all owned and operated by the same organization.
You could (quite literally) provide your quotation details on 10 different websites and only one company would be seeing that information!
So what do these networks look like? Well, generally they consist of what the internet calls “exact match domain names” and there is a pretty easy formula you can use to see if there may be a network in play. For example, in the Medical Insurance market website networks will normally follow a standard format of:
“Country Name”- “Medical”- “Insurance”.com”
These network sites like to operate under URLS which start with this formula, typing it into your web browser would look like this:
Chances are, if an insurance website follows this formula then it’s probably owned and operated by an individual parent company and it’s that company which you will ultimately be dealing with.
When you submit a quotation request on a number of different websites and only 1 (often completely different) company replies to you, that’s when you know you’ve been “networked” and may not be getting the very best deal or advice possible.
Not all networks follow this format, and some are far more creative when it comes to trying to trick your click.... be vigilant and use common sense!
All Hong Kong Insurance Intermediaries are regulated in the following ways:
Insurance Agents Registration Board (IARB)
Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA)
Because Insurance in Hong Kong is a regulated industry anyone dealing with insurance is overseen by one of these bodies, and must declare which body they are regulated by.
We also tell you about our regulatory requirements in our Terms and Conditions page, and on all of our communications (including letters, emails, business cards, and brochures).
If you are unable to find any regulatory information about a company in Hong Kong, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a scam; maybe the company hasn’t updated its website. To check this, each regulator hosts a database informing the public about its member’s – the PIBA member database is found here: PIBA BROKER DATABASE.
If a company or website isn’t listed in any of the databases, or if one website or company is using the registration of another website or company for the “regulation” disclosure, or if no regulatory information exists at all then you may be dealing with a scam.
CCW Global is a regulated Hong Kong Insurance Broker (PIBA Member No. 0533), operating under 1 domain (ccw-global.com), and is reachable at our office location in Sheung Wan Hong Kong.
If you have any questions about how to spot a potential insurance scam website in Hong Kong, or feel like you are unable to trust any of the options that you’ve currently seen online, we would very much like to help. We are also able to set up face-to-face meetings in our office or at a location convenient to you.