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While insurance frauds are not news, they have been a reality for a long time. Some employees of a company may not just con you and steal your money, but also break your trust. Recently, I have found myself to be a victim of such a fraud by PNB MetLife Insurance company.
The two employees visited my house and took my papers for what was supposed to be a transfer of policy, but they instead surrendered my policy without my knowledge or consent.
The deeper I dug, I realised how they carried out the scam and how this could be so harmful for senior citizens and for the socio-economically disadvantaged if they got trapped in similar scams.
How I Realised I Was Conned
K*** Khanna was the Deputy Territory Manager at the Karkardooma branch in Delhi (He has now been terminated by the company). I had a policy of endowment (traditional plan) with the Noida branch of PNB MetLife. Two employees, who had also visited my house, told me they can get me more returns and because I had been their customer since 2017, they would shift me to ULIP from traditional, a market-driven policy. They had also listed some other benefits.
They had categorically stated that this will be a transfer of funds and that the policy is never surrendered.
Soon after, on 14 September, I received an SMS from PNB Metlife that Rs 29,906 had been credited in my account. After a couple of weeks, when I received my policy documents, I realised there was no mention of the advance premium. This raised an alarm.
Following this, I called up K*** Khanna, who had said he would give me access to the online portal so that I could get clarity. He again insisted over call that only a “transfer of funds” had taken place.
On 15 October, when he came to my house, they called the plan ‘13 Month Persistency’, through which they can keep an extra premium. However, according to IRDA's rule, one’s premium amount cannot be kept in advance for more than 45 days.
One Employee Terminated, Other Remains Employed
After realising how their modus operandi worked, I filed a complaint with the Noida branch of the company. There, I was told the employees were from the Karkardooma branch. I spoke to the branch’s STM Gagan Bajpai, under whose team they worked. Mr Bajpai confirmed to me that I have been cheated, and that I should go and file a complaint with the police. He also informed me that K*** Khanna had been terminated on 29 September on short notice, while the other employee had not been coming to work since 1 October. He reported the matter to the HR Manager as well. Thereafter, I filed a complaint with the police in Indirapuram.
The Quint tried reaching out to Gagan Bajpai but he refused to comment on the issue.
Accountability in Companies, Awareness Among Public Needed
The problem here isn’t just the fact that I found myself in the middle of this mess, but also that this could have happened to anybody else. When I started asking around, one of the employees told me that projecting inflated returns was a common practice in the insurance sector. I feel that this “ye toh chalta rehta hai,” attitude has to stop and companies need to take liability for their employees’ actions and keep the trust of their clients.
Here are some of the things you must keep in mind while considering any policy:
1. They replaced one digit of my phone number and one character from my email ID, so that no communication from the company could reach me. The first page of the policy document also includes the name, number and code of the agent who gives you the policy but in my case, the phone number of the agent was not mentioned in my document.
2. If you see something wrong with your policy, please report it to your branch. Go to your branch, call them and visit them. Because there’s a pandemic, such fraudsters take advantage of the fact that people would prefer staying at home.
3. Record all the calls you make to the company. If anyone visits your home and offers you a policy, ask them in written or via official email. Then double check with the customer care or a senior company official.
As for my case, a police investigation is currently underway and the company is trying to address this as well. I am determined to take back the remaining hard-earned money that the company owes me. But my purpose of reporting this story is for it to reach people who can be deeply affected by such a fraud. Lest this happens to anybody, “savdhaan rahe, satark rahe,” — be alert!
The Quint will add PNB MetLife Insurance’s response once it is received.
(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)