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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Insurance policies sold on promise of erecting mobile towers

PTI  Chandigarh, October 18, 2013
First Published: 20:57 IST(18/10/2013) | Last Updated: 21:00 IST(18/10/2013)

In a case of 'mis-selling' of an insurance product, Hoshiarpur-based four brothers were duped after they were sold life insurance policies on the promise that they would receive monthly rental income from mobile towers to be erected on their agricultural land.

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The brothers filed a complaint with the Chandigarh insurance ombudsman in March against a private life insurance company, seeking the cancellation of insurance polices issued to them, and sought refund of Rs. 12.37 lakh.

In their complaint, Amrik Singh and his brothers, residents of Arhana Kalan in Hoshiarpur district, said an agent representing the insurance company had offered to erect 4-5 towers on their farm land, in return of which they would get handsome rental income. As per an agreement, they would have to submit refundable security with the company for erecting towers.

The complainants deposited Rs. 12.37 lakh with the life insurance company as security. They were issued 10 life insurance policies by the insurance company, but no towers were set up, according to the complaint.

When the complainants learnt that they were duped, they approached the Chandigarh insurance ombudsman against the insurance company for cancellation of the polices.

The insurance company, which declined to contest the case, has offered to settle the complaint by refunding the full premium amount to the complainants, said an official of the insurance ombudsman here.

This is not a lone case as 'mis-selling' of insurance products continues to top the list of complaints filed by aggrieved customers with the insurance ombudsman here.

The maximum number of complaints against life insurance companies pertain to 'mis-selling' of policies, an official of the insurance ombudsman said here.

Sometimes, buyers are promised gold coins, cash-back offer, guaranteed return and in some cases, trips to foreign countries on purchasing insurance policies by unscrupulous private insurance companies, he added.

With complaints related to insurance products flowing in, the Chandigarh insurance ombudsman has disposed of around 3,000 complaints for the period from September 2012 to September 2013.
However, 1,646 complaints, including life insurance, are still pending with the ombudsman office, he added.

The Chandigarh insurance ombudsman received 3,763 complaints in 2012-13, with the maximum against life insurance companies originating from Punjab at 1,260, followed by Haryana at 817 and Chandigarh at 350.

The ombudsman has jurisdiction over Punjab, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

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