insurance company in English

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maurello
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:52 pm

insurance company in English

Post by maurello » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:12 pm

We are on our way back from Singapore to Finland as expat for a big Finnish company.
As part of the process I was trying to re-open my insurance policies for house, health (kids), and pets. With great surprise my insurance company wrote me the following:

"We require the policy holder to be fluent in one of the official languages since all the material and services are in Finnish or Swedish and we are required by law to provide material in a language the policy holder speaks. As such, it seems that we can't offer you or your children a medical insurance.

I'm sorry I can't be of more help at this point. Perhaps a larger, international company could provide you with an insurance as their requirements are different.
"

Frankly speaking I am quite shocked as we had this insurance company for many years before moving to Singapore. If the law demands to provide material in a language the policy holder speaks, which company to chose as expatriate?

insurance company in English

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maurello
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:52 pm

Re: insurance company in English

Post by maurello » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:52 am

Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately it seems Swisscare offers only an international student insurance.

Here we need house, health, travel, car, pet, etc. This is quite a trivial matter if we cannot access any of the local policies.
I have contacted even the biggest insurance company in the world, Allianz. They always localise their service so regardless if they are an international company, they service is only for local people in specific country... :?

Good the one of the fundamental value of EU is mobility. They forgot to mention that before each move we need a university degree in languages, 23 to be exact :lol:


Upphew
Posts: 9910
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:55 pm
Location: Lappeenranta

Re: insurance company in English

Post by Upphew » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:26 am

maurello wrote:Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately it seems Swisscare offers only an international student insurance.

Here we need house, health, travel, car, pet, etc. This is quite a trivial matter if we cannot access any of the local policies.
I have contacted even the biggest insurance company in the world, Allianz. They always localise their service so regardless if they are an international company, they service is only for local people in specific country... :?

Good the one of the fundamental value of EU is mobility. They forgot to mention that before each move we need a university degree in languages, 23 to be exact :lol:
Try another insurance company? OP.fi seems to have something available in English. As does nordea.fi.
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maurello
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:52 pm

Re: insurance company in English

Post by maurello » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:24 pm

Upphew wrote:Try another insurance company? OP.fi seems to have something available in English. As does nordea.fi.
Thanks, I will try OP. Actually we had Nordea, then they transferred everything to this insurance company that is giving me headaches. I will not mention it yet because I am trying to solve this amicably, but it's on the borderline to make me burst :)

You will not believe what has happened now. My wife can write basic Finnish and we already had insurance policies with them in the past. Dealt with all claims online in Finnish without bugging them, it's just more time consuming for us. Nevertheless, even if my wife wrote a simple Finnish letter saying she can manage basic written Finnish they demanded us to have a phone conversation to proof we can also speak it fluently !!

Why is this needed if we can manage well enough via written communication? We already managed that in the past... Sadly said, we start to feel discriminated...


brexit
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:40 am

Re: insurance company in English

Post by brexit » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:54 am

maurello wrote:We are on our way back from Singapore to Finland as expat for a big Finnish company.
As part of the process I was trying to re-open my insurance policies for house, health (kids), and pets. With great surprise my insurance company wrote me the following:

"We require the policy holder to be fluent in one of the official languages since all the material and services are in Finnish or Swedish and we are required by law to provide material in a language the policy holder speaks. As such, it seems that we can't offer you or your children a medical insurance.

I'm sorry I can't be of more help at this point. Perhaps a larger, international company could provide you with an insurance as their requirements are different.
"

Frankly speaking I am quite shocked as we had this insurance company for many years before moving to Singapore. If the law demands to provide material in a language the policy holder speaks, which company to chose as expatriate?
If you do not care about language then just google translate and write them in Finnish. Avoid personal contact. That trick works.


Rip
Posts: 5583
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:08 pm

Re: insurance company in English

Post by Rip » Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:53 pm

brexit wrote: If you do not care about language then just google translate and write them in Finnish. Avoid personal contact. That trick works.

Maybe one is able to get the insurance policy online (if one has the banking codes with identification) google translating to English when necessary to be able to understand the online forms, but if you send anybody Google translated "Finnish" you just prove that you don't know the local language.


maurello
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:52 pm

Re: insurance company in English

Post by maurello » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:17 pm

We always did that. Use Google Translator to give a good start, then my wife can read and write enough to complete the job.

Believe it or not, they demanded a phone call to test our spoken language proficiency... Written only was not enough. No need to say I wrote straight away to Ombudsman and if needed I will escalate it to United Nations until this insanity is removed. :lol:


interleukin
Posts: 2360
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:46 pm
Location: Stockholm

Re: insurance company in English

Post by interleukin » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:34 pm

maurello wrote:We always did that. Use Google Translator to give a good start, then my wife can read and write enough to complete the job.

Believe it or not, they demanded a phone call to test our spoken language proficiency... Written only was not enough. No need to say I wrote straight away to Ombudsman and if needed I will escalate it to United Nations until this insanity is removed. :lol:
So you have a private company that doesn't want your business because they are overly careful and realllly want to avoid any problems later due to the customer claiming they didn't understand Finnish? I understand that you are annoyed, but maybe you should get a grip on yourself and just go somewhere else? :shock:
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inkku
Posts: 603
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:26 pm

Re: insurance company in English

Post by inkku » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:31 pm

quite a lot of claim cases on fine.fi site because the clients did not understand Finnish or Finnish banking/insurance practices.

https://www.fine.fi/en/frontpage.html


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wolf80
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Helsinki

Re: insurance company in English

Post by wolf80 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:36 pm

maurello wrote:We always did that. Use Google Translator to give a good start, then my wife can read and write enough to complete the job.

Believe it or not, they demanded a phone call to test our spoken language proficiency... Written only was not enough. No need to say I wrote straight away to Ombudsman and if needed I will escalate it to United Nations until this insanity is removed. :lol:
Good luck there, considering the insurance company actually has the right to make sure you understand the contract and might even be required by law to do so. Your signature is the symbol of agreement to the contract, but agreement requires understanding. If you don't understand the contract you can't legally agree, which means the contract is not valid.

This is a general problem for foreigners, so I wonder if you can have the contract translated at your own expense, if the company is not prepared to deliver it in English.

There might be a lever with the EU right of free movement. If all insurance companies would only provide contracts in Finnish and Swedish it would mean that EU nationals could practically not settle here, as insurances are always required for accommodation.

You could take the case to the Non-Discrimination-Ombudsman in Finland to see where you stand.
http://www.equineteurope.org/non-discri ... -ombudsman


betelgeuse
Posts: 2620
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: insurance company in English

Post by betelgeuse » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:55 pm

wolf80 wrote:There might be a lever with the EU right of free movement. If all insurance companies would only provide contracts in Finnish and Swedish it would mean that EU nationals could practically not settle here, as insurances are always required for accommodation.
But also due to the single market insurance companies from other countries could offer the service and service in language other than Finnish or Swedish. It's also not a government set requirement to have insurance.


betelgeuse
Posts: 2620
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: insurance company in English

Post by betelgeuse » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:05 pm

roger_roger wrote:
betelgeuse wrote: It's also not a government set requirement to have insurance.
can you really drive a car without insurance?
Government provides insurance of last resort. If that needs to be used, it comes with higher fees. Besides you took my comment out of context (accommodation).


betelgeuse
Posts: 2620
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: insurance company in English

Post by betelgeuse » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:06 pm

betelgeuse wrote:Government provides insurance of last resort. If that needs to be used, it comes with higher fees. Besides you took my comment out of context (accommodation).
Should have also mentioned that the police can take the plates away in this situation. Any way because car insurance is mandated it comes with stricter requirements to provide it than optional insurance.


betelgeuse
Posts: 2620
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:24 am

Re: insurance company in English

Post by betelgeuse » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:30 pm

roger_roger wrote:
betelgeuse wrote:Besides you took my comment out of context (accommodation).
Indeed, but the situation here is; any landlord wouldn't rent a place if the tenant wouldn't buy a house insurance, making the house insurance as mandatory... avoiding insurance could be illegal and prosecuted.
It's not a crime so there's no chance of prosecution. For landlords it's not really about insuring the apartment (they can do that on their own) but about the third party liability insurance that is hard to buy separately in Finland.
roger_roger wrote: Same thing as in Car, when it is regulated that no one can drive car without insurance, how many insurance company provide car insurance in English?
I don't know.
roger_roger wrote: As i said earlier, govt is to blame.... When it is mandatory to take insurance, why the f govt cannot make a strict directives towards insurance companies to provide insurance to its residents in different languages? After all they are doing business and earning money providing insurance, that means more tax and more money for govt. itself.
For mandatory insurance it's only about who needs to bear the burden of translation, the insurance company or the client. If there's not enough business for the insurance company to translate on their own, I find it reasonable that the client needs to pay for the required translation services. However, reading the relevant legislation I am not sure if insurance for cars can be denied due to not knowing a native language.

http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/2 ... 0460#L2P17
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maurello
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:52 pm

Re: insurance company in English

Post by maurello » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:00 am

Let me give you an update... I wrote to the insurance company and the authority "Yhdenvertaisuusvaltuutettu" (which only by its name says it all about language complexity :ochesey:).

I raised the case using Section 6 of the Non-Discrimination Act that says:
"Nobody may be discriminated against on the basis of age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. The prohibition of discrimination based on gender is covered by the provisions of the Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986).
Discrimination means: 1) the treatment of a person less favourably than the way another person is treated, has been treated or would be treated in a comparable situation (direct discrimination)
"

In principle I leveraged on the fact that I cannot access to a service due to language, while other people can, even if I clearly said Finnish is good enough for us and we can manage it in written format. They replied in less than a week, with the following email :thumbsup: :

"I understand you have already been contacted by our Customer Ombudsman on this subject sometime last week. I'm happy to confirm that we can indeed offer you and your family a full medical expense insurance, including your son. We can go over the details once you have settled back in Finland and have received a social security number for your youngest child as well."

My lesson learnt is that most grey areas are worth a fight to make this world progress in the right direction. Ultimately it would be best if the bigger companies would develop continent-wide products in English with localisation only when needed. Think about the cost savings... no wonder EU goes baloney, only its websites are in 24 languages! massive cost and complexity... but you know, I will always be an idealist on this topic.

Cheers and hope this helps others in the same situation!


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