There are many ways insurance agents get clients to buy products from replacement insurance, false advertising insurance, and loading in insurance.
The practice of attempting to convince a policyholder to replace their current life insurance policy with a comparable one from a different insurer is known as insurance twisting.
Why Is It Called Twisting?
It is twisting insurance because it involves the insurance agent using false or confusing information to get their client to make that switch. While this can happen with all insurance policies, it is most common with life and health insurance policies.
What Defines Twisting Insurance?
As we just mentioned, Twisting Insurance is a type of replacement insurance that agents use to convince policyholders to forgo any existing policy and take out another. Most insurance agents usually earn commissions from policy sales and use this method to sell policies to people who do not necessarily need them.
The insurance agent would have to use deceptive ways to sell the policy or get policy owners to replace their existing policy. These policies do not serve the best interests of policyholders only increase agents’ profit margins and involve some level of coercion insurance.
What Is Twisting Insurance And Rebating?
To begin with, twisting insurance and rebating are two different things. We have already explained what twisting insurance means. Therefore, you should not be confusing these two terms. So, let us have a look at what rebating in insurance represents.
Rebating is when an insurance company refunds part of the premium or a portion of the agents to the insured or other incentives to acquire a business with a certain provider.
This means that twisting insurance is the practice of paying a commission to an agent for their services. The significant difference is that twisting occurs when paying a more considerable sum of money than originally agreed, whereas rebating is the act of paying less money.
Is Twisting Insurance Illegal?
In brief, the practice of twisting in insurance is illegal. There are cases when people are convinced that they are doing a good thing by offering an acceptable price so they do not look upon it as twisting.
At the same time, other people believe that if they pull off a twist in insurance before finalizing an agreement, they should not be found guilty of doing so. However, in each case, you are still twisting, and either way, it is not the right thing to do.
Why Is Twisting Illegal You Ask?
Simply because twisting involves using deceptive means to get people to change their existing life insurance policies, most states consider twisting a criminal offense, and most agents found guilty could be prosecuted under fraud statutes.
And the state of America, The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a legal body that protects people from being deceived when it comes to insurance. The Unfair Trade Practices Act does not allow any misrepresentation of such policies.
There are cases when insurance policy replacements can be termed as twisting. For instance, if a customer receives better benefits from a newly proposed policy upgrade, that is not an illegal activity.
Furthermore, twisting an insurance policy means that it is not your best deal; moreover, it only works out for the agent who is proposing it to you. Nevertheless, if you think you have been sold a policy under twisting methods, you must contact your state’s insurance commissioner’s office to lodge a complaint and open an investigation.
What Is The Difference Between Twisting Insurance And Churning?
Insurance products like life insurance, health insurance, and other annuity policies are dynamic. They are constantly changing the benefits and adding more options to make them versatile for policyholders. There is a thin line that separates churning from twisting in insurance.
Therefore, you should not be surprised to find your insurance company persuading you to exchange one product for the other if they believe those specific products best suit your needs.
Of course, the insurance agent might have personal reasons for getting their clients to swap policies, and these reasons are primarily commission-based. Anyway, understanding the differences between twisting and churning in insurance is essential.
Churning usually happens when an insurance agent intentionally uses false statements or documents to convince policyholders to give up existing insurance policies in favor of a new one from the same insurer.
Additionally, most agents persuade policy owners to take out their accumulated earnings under their current policy to help fund the new one. This is not beneficial to insurance companies, but it is an excellent deal for agents. Hence, it is a smart tactic that agents use to increase their commissions.
Twisting insurance is essentially the same. However, a twisting insurance example involves intentionally using false statements to persuade a client to give up a policy from a different insurance company. By doing this, both the agent and the insurance company benefit more by poaching clients from competitors.
Most insurance agents have put measures to prevent insurance churning, such as requiring agents to present official documentation of any policy changes to clients. You can also take further preventive actions like independent research on the dedicated agent.
Or, you can ask around about the insurance agency in general and see what people have to say about it.
What Is The Difference Between Twisting Insurance And Misrepresentation?
There are a few key differences between twisting and misrepresentation:
Twisting Insurance is intentional, while misrepresentation is not always malicious. Second, twisting generally changes the meaning of the original statement, while misrepresentation can result in a change to the tone or context.
Finally, twisting insurance is more likely to involve an element of intention, while misrepresentation may not always be intentional.
Misrepresentation occurs when individuals provide false statements or information on their coverage applications. That said, it can take many forms, including exaggerating a claim or telling outright lies about the event that led to their filing.
Moreover, misrepresentation would have played an important role in the insurance company’s policy decision if truthfully provided, which leads to the fact that when discussing misrepresentation instances, it is usually the policyholder who provides misleading information.
Ultimately, when a case of misrepresentation happens on behalf of the person insured, the insurance company has the exclusive right to terminate an insurance policy.
Characteristics of Twisting Insurance
Identifying the signs of an insurance agent who uses deceptive means is vital for all customers.
Here are some signs and characteristics of insurance twisting:
- They provide unclear or insufficient supporting documentation of the new policy’s benefits.
- They will not provide you with additional information on what happens to your old insurance policy once you take out the new one.
- They tend to come across as pushy and forceful when trying to convince you to take out a new policy.
- Their answers are not straightforward.
- The offers they propose are usually too good to be true.
Example of Twisting Insurance
Imagine taking out a life insurance policy that has accumulated money value over the past couple of years. And it just so happens that the premiums have gotten too much for your current financial status. The reasonable thing to do here is to reach out to an agent from your insurer who promises to help you find a cheaper policy that still has some great benefits. However, the agent then tells you to give up on your new policy for a new one from a different company.
They promise that this new policy will help you save money in premiums, but here is the thing they do not tell you the catch. The catch is that you might either have to give up your accrued money value from your old policy or pay taxes. Unfortunately, you may lose any premium savings because of the taxes you will need to pay.
Ultimately, a good and credible insurance agent would explain all circumstances and lay out the advantages and disadvantages to help you make a more informed decision when answering the question.
The insurance industry has a lot of regulations and codes that spell out how agents should behave. While some states have made twisting insurance illegal, many others have not. However, if insurance is found to have violated any of the existing codes in a specific state, they can lose their license.
Fortunately, many insurance agents out there want the best for their clients. Plus, with current regulations and codes, you should not worry much about twisting insurance. Nonetheless, it would help to protect you by working with credible agencies.
Q: What is Twisting Insurance?
A: Twisting Insurance is an unethical practice in the insurance industry where an agent or broker convinces a policyholder to terminate an existing insurance policy in favor of a new one. This is often done to generate additional commissions for the agent, without necessarily providing any significant benefit to the policyholder. Individuals must be aware of this practice and carefully consider the implications before making any decisions about changing their insurance coverage. Always ensure that any modifications to your insurance policies align with your specific needs and financial goals.