Cooling-off Rights Improved


The Life Insurance Council of the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers announced today (Tuesday, 7 January 2003) the implementation of the revised Cooling-off Initiative on 1 January 2003. The Cooling-off Initiative, which was first introduced in July 1996, aims to enhance customer protection by providing a free-look period for policyholders to re-consider their decision to purchase a life insurance product which is a long-term commitment. If policyholders wish to change their mind, they could cancel the policy and are entitled to a refund of the premium paid.

The improved mechanism ensures policyholders will now be able to receive five days before the Cooling-off Period expires a full set of the policy documents or a notice informing them of the availability of the policy and the expiry date of the Cooling-off Period, so that they would have sufficient time to peruse the policy documents and make up their mind.

The Cooling-off Period for policyholders will be extended to the later of:

  • 21 days after the date on which the application for the new policy has been signed;

  • 14 days after the date of issue of the new policy; or

  • 5 days after the delivery of the policy or a Notice to the policyholder or the policyholder's representative informing them the availability of the policy and the expiry date of the Cooling-off Period.

Policyholders should note that the Cooling-off Period commences once the policy application form is signed. In order for them to enjoy their Cooling-off rights, they should immediately revisit the policy proposal and all relevant materials provided to them soon after signing the policy application form. If, therefore, a policyholder has doubts over his decision, he should immediately collect the policy documents once he receives the Notice from the insurance company informing him of the availability of the policy documents so that he would have the time to check out the details.

If, after thorough consideration, a policyholder is still not fully satisfied with the policy, he should return the policy and attach a letter signed by him requesting cancellation to the designated address of the insurance company as soon as possible and no later than the end of the Cooling-off Period.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Cooling-off Period commences on the date when a policyholder signs the application form instead of the date on which the policy documents are delivered to him.

"The Life Insurance Council is pleased to launch the improved Cooling-off Initiative, which the life assurance industry is confident will give better protection to consumers. We urge policyholders to observe the expiry date of their Cooling-off rights in order to protect their interests," commented Mr Anthony Ting-yin LAU, Chairman of the Life Insurance Council.

In addition and as a means to facilitate life assurance companies to exchange policy replacement information as soon as possible, the Cooling-off Period will also be extended to the later of 14 days after the date on which the Customer Protection Declaration Form has been copied to the insurer of an existing policy which the new policy is replacing. Full details of the revised Cooling-off Initiative is available in PDF format.