11. My agent asks me to pay him cash so that he can pay my premiums promptly on behalf of me. Is he allowed to handle premium payments in this way?

Under the Guidance Note issued on 1 June 1999 attaching to The Code of Practice for the Administration of Insurance Agents issued by The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, an insurance company must set out clear rules on any payments from customers which are not in the form of cheques, credit card payments, direct deposits or bank transfers.

The Guidance Note is to ensure that in a situation like yours where there is cash involved in the payment, your agent has to comply with the rules that will avoid the mixing of your money with that of his personal funds. Note that more than one-third of the complaints handled by the Insurance Agents Registration Board is about improper handling of insurance premiums by agents.

Thus, your agent is allowed to handle cash payments, provided that his principal/superior has set out clear rules that he has to follow. To be on the safe side, you should check the rules and satisfy yourself that your agent will act accordingly.