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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Insurance firm fined for selling policies to 19-yr-old

Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, October 30, 2013
First Published: 23:22 IST(30/10/2013) | Last Updated: 23:27 IST(30/10/2013)

Held guilty of "mis-selling" eight insurance policies to a 19-year-old boy, even when the minimum age of entry for any insured person to avail the policies is 20, MetLife India Insurance Company Limited will now have to refund Rs. 17.1 lakh with 7.5 % interest and pay Rs. 50,000 as compensation to Jaskaran Singh, a resident of Ferozepur, Punjab.

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The district consumer disputes redressal forum, Chandigarh, while holding the insurance company guilty of unfair trade practice and deficiency in services, has been directed to also pay Rs. 10,000 as cost of litigation to complainant.

Singh had said in the complaint that he had purchased the policies in July 2010, and later found his name and date of birth wrong and approached the company for corrections.

After many reminders, he received an email saying the policies were issued as per the information provided in the proposal form and the copy of the driving licence provided by him. Singh alleged that the licence on which the policies were issued did not belong to him, and thus again approached the company for action, but the company expressed inability to get the corrections made in the policies, as the entry age to make one eligible for issuance of these policies was 20. Astonished to learn this, Singh sought refund, but to no avail.

The firm said the policies were issued on basis of the documents provided to them, and the complainant had 15 days to raise objections.

"The company claimed [to] have issued policies as per IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) guidelines. But in the absence of any proof of substantial income from the side of the complainant… company is found lacking in not following the KYC (know your customer) norms, as well as anti-money laundering norms," the forum said in its order dated October 24. "The insurance company should not have issued policies believing the age of the complainant on the basis of a learner's driving licence …while not entertaining the proper documents with regard to the age and income qualifications," it added.

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