Tuesday , 10 December 2019
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Beware of Insurance Fraudsters

There have been many instances of IRDA officials phoning people and informing them that IRDA is offering bonus on a certain policy.  Do not fall for that, says Tensing Rodrigues

I always thought that Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) is for governing the affairs of the insurance companies and protecting consumers against misdoings by these companies. I was however surprised when a friend told me that recently that an IRDA official phoned him to say that IRDA is offering bonus on a certain policy three months after purchase of that policy.

My friend was puzzled and told him that he will get back. I too could not give him a satisfactory advice. Should my friend go ahead and buy that policy, given that the offer has come from a government authority?

Ground check reveals that there have been many instances of IRDA officials phoning people and informing them that IRDA is offering bonus on certain policy upon purchase of that policy.  Do not fall for that; it is a fraud. The function of IRDA is to protect the interests of the policyholders, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry.

The regulatory body does not sell or promote any insurance policies; so there is no question of anyone getting a call from them official in that regard. It has been observed that fraudsters often pose themselves as officers from grievance department which is an online platform where policyholders can lodge their complaints and also keep track of the application status.

Fraudsters then tell that they have called in response to the online complaint made by the policyholder. And instruct that the policyholder has to pay a certain fee in order to resolve the grievance. Or they may inform that policy holder’s money has been fraudulently transferred and in order to get that rectified the policyholder will need to complete certain formalities and pay some charges therefor.

But the most common trick is the one described above. The fraudsters claim that IRDA is awarding bonus on a certain policy. And to receive this bonus you have to purchase that policy. Always cross check the credentials of any seller of insurance, most importantly the unique code which is allotted by IRDA to every authorised agent or broker.   Ask for a copy of the agent’s personal identification card, agent number, address and contact number and all the policy documents, proposal form etc. that you have signed.Every offer made should be on company’s official document.

Always issue a crossed cheque payable to the insurance company. On the cheque affix a transparent tape on the payee’s name and amount. And on the back side of the cheque mention the details of the policy or proposal for which the cheque is issued.

You should also reach the respective insurance company’s call centre/branch in order to verify claims made by the agent. In case of any contradictory claims, a case of providing misleading or fraudulent information can be lodged.  In case of fraudulent calls you can file a police complaint at your local police station by submitting details such as caller’s name and telephone number. These days most of the insurance companies have social media presence on sites such as facebook.com, google.com, twitter.com etc. So directly put comment on their page. This will make your message go viral and help more and more people informed about the frauds.

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