Monday, 27 May 2019

Pensioners in Rajasthan duped into buying SBI Life Insurance Policies – Business Standard

Pensioners from Udaipur have registered complaints against Company Limited for fraudulently selling them worth lakhs of rupees. They allege company’s officials assured them the policies work like a fixed deposit schemes but ensure higher returns, concealing payment of the premiums.

Bhopal Singh Ranawat, a retired forest guard from Gajpura village of Udaipur in his complaint letter to SBI Life in October this year narrates how the officials converted his entire savings to manage the insurance policy.

Just a month after Ranawat’s retirement benefits worth Rs 800,000 were transferred to Udaipur’s treasury bank in August this year, the company officials approached and convinced him to invest in the ‘SBI life – Retire Smart’ plan – promising it would be more profitable than a fixed deposit (FD) scheme.

“They had repeatedly convinced me that I was investing in a better plan than a fixed deposit. Later, I found they had issued me an insurance policy worth Rs 200,000 without informing me the details,” his complaint letter, accessed by The Wire, reads.

In an duplicitous manner, the officials also issued him three fixed deposits of the remaining Rs 600,000 – Rs 200,000 each – for a maturity period of one year, two years and three years respectively so that they could be used to arrange for the annual premiums.

“If a person would opt for a fixed deposit, he would put in the entire amount in one FD, not in pieces like SBI Life did without my consent. It was clearly a conspiracy to forcefully sell me the insurance policy,” Ranawat told The Wire.

In his complaint, Ranawat also mentioned that his annual income and educational qualification in the policy documents were misinterpreted so as to set them as per the guidelines laid for the eligibility of high coverage plans.

“The agent falsely presented in the policy documents that I’m a class XII pass and have basic computer knowledge, hence mentioning some email ID, while in reality, I’m just class VIII pass and don’t know how to operate a computer. Even the contact number mentioned in the policy, on which the call for policy verification is usually sent, was not my own.”

When Ranawat reached out to the manager, he misinformed him it didn’t matter if he couldn’t pay the premium amount every year, he would still be returned the interest on his investment.

On December 4, 2018, SBI Life accepted Ranawat’s complaint and decided to cancel the policy under the free-look period. However, they promised to return only the ‘appropriate amount’ that would be calculated according to the policy terms and conditions.

Free-look period is the time duration within which a customer, if not satisfied with the terms and conditions of the policy, can return it alongside stating the reasons. It is either 30 days (if policy is purchased through distance marketing channels) or 15 days (if the policy is purchased through a channel other than distance marketing) from the date of the receipt of the policy document.

“The issue [Ranawat’s complaint] was brought to our notice on November 2, 2018, three months after the policy issuance. Post an internal discussion and in line with regulatory guidelines, we approved [the] cancellation of the policy and refund of premium paid by the customer. We have written to the customer on December 4, 2018, requesting him to submit the original policy document along with essential details to process a cancellati