July 19, 2022

$169,000 in insurance payouts unclaimed by customers following spa closures

By brit

SINGAPORE – About 580 consumers could not be contacted or have not responded to CaseTrust’s appointed insurer to collect a total of $169,000 in prepayment protection insurance payouts.

The sum is part of the payout for those affected by the closure of 28 CaseTrust-accredited spas and wellness businesses between February 2017 and last month, said the Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) on Tuesday (July 19).

More than $280,000 had been paid out since 2017 under the scheme to 512 affected consumers, with each customer receiving an average of about $540.

Case introduced prepayment protection in the CaseTrust spa and wellness accreditation scheme in 2011. Spa and wellness businesses accredited under the scheme are required to protect prepayments made by consumers via the purchase of prepayment protection insurance.

Upon prepayment to such accredited businesses, customers would be issued insurance certificates which include details such as their personal details and insured sum. If these businesses fold, the appointed insurer will contact affected customers for the payouts.

As at July 13 this year, more than $15.8 million in prepayments by consumers are insured through the scheme, with more than $263 million in total prepayments protected since the introduction of the prepayment protection feature.

Case president Melvin Yong said many businesses in the spa and wellness industry have been impacted by Covid-19, with some having to close down, and the prepayment protection scheme has helped customers secure the unused portions of their packages, which can be up to tens of thousands of dollars.

He added: “While the CaseTrust prepayment protection scheme helps safeguard consumers’ prepayment amounts for the spa and renovation contractor industries, there is a need to look into how we can better protect consumers’ prepayments for other businesses, especially in areas where consumers tend to make large sums of payment upfront.

“I have called on the government to strengthen existing prepayment protection legislation, and mandate prepayment protection in industries where consumers report a high amount of prepayment losses.”

Case has urged those with pending claims from shuttered CaseTrust-accredited spas and wellness outlets to contact AVA Insurance at claims_brokers@ava-ins.com or 6535-1828. The list of such accredited businesses that closed between February 2017 and last month can be found on the CaseTrust website.

Claims must be submitted to AVA Insurance within six years of the business closure.