Fraud Alert! IRDAI cautions public against these types of fraudulent offers on insurance policies

The IRDAI note states that it has come to their knowledge that the general public and policyholders have been receiving spurious calls posing to be the officials.

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Many of us keep getting unsolicited calls to buy insurance policies. At times, some of them could be a fraud. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) keeps on taking steps to safeguard the interest of the buyers and potential policyholders of insurance policies. In a recent public communication, IRDAI has once again raised the concern on spurious phone calls and fictitious and fraudulent offers.

The IRDAI note states that it has come to their knowledge that the General Public / Policyholders have been receiving spurious calls from un-identified and unscrupulous individuals posing to be the officials or representatives of IRDAI with fictitious and fraudulent offers which are beyond the scope of insurance policies.

They are using names like as Insurance Transaction Department, RBI or any other name of existing government agencies and misleading the public about their authenticity.

The callers offer unrealistic benefits in the existing life insurance policies including in lapsed policies of policyholders such as unclaimed bonus, agency commission, a refund of investment amount/growth amount etc which they can claim, subject to an upfront payment of fee/advance tax/deposit or payment to the account of the caller.

IRDAI in the communication said that it reiterates that it does not involve directly in the sale of any kind of insurance or financial products nor invest the premium received by insurance companies nor announce any bonus for policyholders or insurers.

All policyholders and members of the public have been cautioned not to fall prey to such offers. They are urged to remain alert against such frauds or scams perpetrated by miscreants. It is always advisable to verify the identity of the caller and the genuineness of the offer with the concerned Insurance Companies and registered intermediaries. The public should directly deal with Insurance Companies or registered intermediaries/insurance agents while purchasing a policy or having any financial dealing with the insurance companies for verification.

Earlier, IRDAI had also issued similar notices that neither IRDAI nor Integrated Grievance Management System(IGMS) which facilitates online registration of policyholders’ complaints is involved in selling insurance policies directly to the public.

In this regard, all policyholders in particular and members of the public, in general, were cautioned that:

· IRDAI/IGMS does not involve directly or through any representative in the sale of any kind of insurance or financial products.

· IRDAI/IGMS does not invest the premium received by insurance companies.

· IRDAI/IGMS does not announce any bonus for policyholders or insurers.

· IRDAI or its officials dealing with Grievance Management do not make any calls in relation to complaints lodged with IRDAI as IRDAI plays a facilitative role and does not adjudicate upon such complaints.

· If any person shows any document/letter head of IRDAI/IGMS containing any of the false promises such as release of bonus, accrued commission or any fund either by IRDAI/IGMS or by any Insurer is a fake document/letter head.

· If any person approaches with an ID of IRDAI/IGMS and proposes sale of insurance products or provides any inducement by way of money or in kind, that person is a fraudulent person as he/she can neither sell nor canvass for any insurance or financial products.

· Any person making any kind of a transaction with such individuals/agents will be doing the same at their own risk.

IRDAI advises that if any member of the public notices such instances, he or she may lodge a police complaint giving full details, along with the details of the caller and telephone number from which the call was received, in the local police station.

IRDAI had earlier issued a direction to all Life Insurers shall flash on the Home Page of their websites, the Public Notice issued by IRDAI cautioning the general public about spurious calls and fictitious offers. This was required to be inserted in a box item prominently at the end of all their product advertisements in print media including pamphlets, publicity material, etc. with a view to educate the customers on the role of Regulator and also caution the public on spurious calls.

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First published on: 27-07-2020 at 18:02 IST