No insurance company is free from the evils within. Insurance scams have been so devilishly common worldwide, that you could go through dozens of internet pages telling you stories of people who’ve faced the wrong side of insurance benefits.
Unfortunately, India also has its fair share of insurance scams going on. Luckily, we have the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or the IRDAI to cover our backs. Since their inception, they have done good work towards protecting finances of the people, especially in the case of insurance.
But, despite their governance, some scams have inevitable slipped through. The arrest of two top dogs within the Bharti AXA life insurance company is one such example.
The Bharti AXA Life Insurance Story
In 2014, two top officials of the Bharti AXA clan were arrested, and they not just high ranking officials, one was the Chief Executive Officer and the other one was the vice-president of the company. The amount cheated has been found to be over Rs 14 lakh.
The arrest involves Mr. PD Joshi on the victim side, a resident of Mumbai who was for long, unwary of the ongoing crime. Mr. PD Joshi had been constantly receiving calls from tele callers of the company, impersonating to be the IRDA chairman, insurance complaint officers, bank officers and tax officers. The case was something of an extortion; Mr. PD Joshi was forced to give money via cheques by making him fearful of income tax raids.
As the calls for money kept on coming, Mr. PD Joshi finally understood that he was being scammed. On March 3 of 2014, Mr. PD Joshi submitted a complaint at the branch of Bharti AXA Life Insurance in sector 34, Chandigarh. After months of no fruition, the complaint was finally rejected as late as June 7th 2014.
Mr. PD Joshi was somewhat of a dream customer to any insurance selling company. He had bought a total of eight life insurance policies either in his or his relative’s names which totaled to a sum of Rs 14.29 Lakhs.
Hand in hand with the scam, there was another discrepancy present within the insurance policies he bought. Apparently, the annual income written within the policies was shown as different, which is a violation of guidelines. Mr. PD Joshi alleged that the officials as well as insurance brokers worked together in selling him insurance policies with a criminal conspiracy.
As the case went to court, the bail pleas of both the officials involved in the scam were rejected. The officials claim that they were being falsely implicated in the matter. While the end of the case is trapped between the walls of the court itself, a bail plea reject does not portray a bright future for the scamsters.
This is not the only case involved with Bharti AXA. Another case of insurance scam with similar details had been uncovered a few years prior to the former case. In this case, the scam involved an appreciable sum of Rs 95,000. The case also involved forgery by the use of clothes iron and a magic pen. The accused had been arrested and the case was solved.
What Does This Mean For Insurance Buyers?
One thing that unfortunately is a reality, is that insurance and scams can never be separated. As long as there is money to be made, some kind of scam, either from the level of brokering it to the customer, to the highest levels such as involvement of CEO’s and vice presidents, will happen.
Over time, no company has seen itself free of insurance scams, either alleged by customers or proven by the justice system. One can understand from the above case that the company had the best of intentions while selling insurance to its customers. The scam was not perpetrated by the company, but by some individuals within the company.
We believe it will be safe to purchase insurance policies in this company again, despite the scam, albeit with a lot more scrutiny of documents and other insurance related objects. After all, Bharti AXA has shown very good payout rates, grievance redressal and positive reviews by old customers.
As with any insurance, being completely aware whether you are getting what you are paying for is necessary. The judiciary system will always back you in times of need.