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AnonTN (Consultant)     24 October 2011

Icici prudential lifestage pension policy complaint

In December of 2009, while switching my accounts from NRE to resident savings account,
one of the staff in NRE banking of ICICI said they have a good pension plan with
guaranteed annual returns of 13.4 percent, and asked me to invest in it.
This was not really a clever scam, but I fell for it. I thought that with fixed deposit interest rates
 around 8%, they may have some means to get better returns, and trusting this guy, went
along with him to the branch manager's office. 
 I signed a blank application form for the pension plan, gave a cheque for the first year's
premium and left.

When I received the policy document in the mail later, I found that there were no guaranteed
returns, the returns were based on market risk, and there was a chance if premiums
are not paid fully for the first 3 years, that all or most of the premium paid would be lost.
I went to the branch manager, asked him to cancel the policy so that I can re-invest the
money elsewhere. It was a 45 minute discussion, but in the end they refused to cancel
the policy. It was a typical act, with the branch manager and co putting
 on a show of innocence, claiming that it was a communication
gap,  that this was the best return you could get. Basically they were piggy-backing on
 tax benefits, claiming 30% return. While the "electronic benefits illustration" showed only
examples with assumed returns of 6% and 10%. I made another mistake instead of filing a written cancellation request, I told them that I'll see how the returns turn out after one year.
The so called "freelook" period for cancellation of the policy was only 15 days.
And the word "freelook" is misleading, seems like ICICI Prudential is doing you a favor, when actually
they would take all your money, if premium is not paid for atleast one full year. Even if you
pay for one full year, if you decide not to continue, you will only get 25% of the "fund value",
that too at the end of 3 years!
There is no corresponding benefit, to compensate for loss of your premium. It is
just all advantage to ICICI Prudential.

At the end of one year, the returns were less than 5%, so I decided to not invest any more money,
and asked ICICI Prudential to cancel the policy. As part of this process I have submitted my
original policy along with other documents, but so far they have refused to acknowledge
in writing that they have received my request.
But they have been persistent in sending emails, SMSes and even making phone calls requesting
that I renew my policy.
In subsequent communication, I have made 2 requests through email to get the copy of the application form that I signed, but they have ignored the request.

I want to see what was filled in the application form,
and if any mistakes were made and corrected without my signature or initials
(or even forged signature, like one of the users who complained in this forum),
and if the application form matches the plan that I was enrolled in.

My intent is to make ICICI Prudential act honestly and refund the premium paid with interest,
or if they refuse to do so, to discuss here the
deficiencies in their enrollment process, in the policy document, in the policy administration,
and in their customer service and file a complaint with the ombudsman and consumer court.

I'll start with a couple of issues with enrollment, and add more later. I'll also discuss the correspondence
with ICICI Prudential including with their so called "Grievence Redressal Officers", so that others can
understand their modus operandi.

1. The cover letter that came with the policy document states that
"The Kit also contains the benefit illustration generated and application form
filled by you online after discussing the same with our representative".
This is not true, I never filled an online application. I couldn't have, because at that point
I had only a banking relationship with ICICI.
I only signed a blank application.
ICICI Prudential seems to imply that an online application without my signature,
and filled by ICICI's representative can be considered as created by me!
And they have refused a copy of the (blank) application form that I signed, but was probably
filled later by their representative.

Is the policy valid if ICICI has not attached a copy of the application with my signature?

2. Also the policy certificate has the date, authorized signatory's signature,
the designation, but does
 not have the name of the person who signed it. Is that a valid policy certificate?
Shouldn't private companies put the name of the person on the document, next to their signature.

 regds
/-


 



 20 Replies

Amit Arora (Law Student)     25 October 2011

1) You may send the original policy document within 15 days of receipt of the policy doument along with a letter for cancellation. The 15 day's period is considered as FREElook Period.

 

2) As per IRDA guidelines, all insurance companies are required/bound to send the photocopy of the proposal form to the customer, along with the policy document.

 

3) If the photocopy of the proposal form is not received you may complaint to the insurance company about forgeing your signatures by the insurane company and the copy of such written complaint should be sent to IRDA. These day's RBI is very strict on such insurance companies and I am sure your refund will be processed after you submit a written complaint to INsurance company and IRDA.

2 Like

Kumar Doab (FIN)     25 October 2011

In case of life insurance policy the applicant has to affix signatures by hand and agent/company official have to ensure signatures are affixed in their presence.

If your signatures are forged you may lodge a complaint and demand penalty, punishment, refund, compensation.

Since you have made so many interactions it shall be appropriate to approach a competent lawyer and move under expert guidance.

1 Like

V R SHROFF (Sr. ADVOCATE Bombay High Court Mob: 9892432152)     27 October 2011

I agree with you,

ICICI Representative , to get their fat comission, promise you a handsome return, and grab your Cheque,

Later u find, ICICI  use your money  free for 5 years, without pying anything to you, and do not return even what you paid them for 5 years. 

ALL THEIR PROMISES ARE FALSE, FAR FROM REALITIES, AND HAD LOTS OF HIDDEN CHARGES, THAT SCRAPE YOUR MONEY EVERY MONTH. BYE-BYE TO ICICI. I CLOSED AL MY A/C & LOST 2.5 lAKH INVESTMENT INTEREST FOR 5 YRS. 

ICICI openly says that they are not lable for  what their representative orally talked to you. u must read terms and conditions before signing!!

u r looser if close a/c within 3 years, and can protect major part of ur investment if continue paying them for 5 yrs.  u forget about return on investment !!!  all illusory prtomises. 

This is what happened with me. This is my personal opinion. 

ALL WHO WANT TO INVEST WITH ICICI MAY DO SO HAPPILY. I D NOT WANT O INFLUENCE ANYONE. IT IS THEIR BUSINESS FOR THEIR PROFIT, NOT YOURS!!  THEY HAVE LOTS OF MONEY (of course earned from public) AND LOTS OF LAW EXPERTS TO SEE THAT POOR PUBLIC DO NOT WIN THEIR CASES OR COMPLAINTS. 

1 Like

Kumar Doab (FIN)     27 October 2011

If a customer has a complaint of mis selling, customer can lodge case with consumer forum.

The lawyers have data of decided cases. Lots of cases are also available on

Confonet

confonet.nic.in

You can find cases from all states for all companies, banks etc. Check for your self.

Such companies are not fit to be left to loose around and should not be left unpunished.

 

1 Like

R C Nigam (xxxxxxxxx)     28 October 2011

I have also been cheated by this fraudier, i.e. IP's representative, who duped by telling me a fixed return in addition to what is earned through market. The representative A K Verma virtually, begged me to oblige him for the sake of his service. He never gave the true picture of the product, and failed to give me related brochure for my check up. At this age of 77 yrs., I shelled out a PD cheque for Rs 15,000/- and told him to tender it only after my consent as there was not sufficient amount in my SB A/c, but he tendered the same without asking me, with the result that that was dishonoured and I had to bear the Charges. Later, his manager S K Singh requested me and collected the cash from me. When I recd the policy, I cud'nt go through and understand the details of the policy terms and today I feel cheated by the IP.

THIS IS A SLUR ON THE FACE OF IP. MS CHANDRA KOCHAR, WHO IS PERHAPS THE CMD OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, SHOULD ENSURE THAT SUCH FRAUD IS DISCONTINUED WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY AND SHOULD DO TO ASUAGE THE FEELINGS OF DUPED CITIZENS.

I WUD HAVE PERSUED THE MATTER TO LOGICAL END BUT MY OLD AGE AND POOR HEALTH DO NOT PERMIT.

R C NIGAM

1 Like

SURESH GODBOLE (ADVOCATE)     30 October 2011

Mr Nigam ,

                    Peruse the Policy

                    There the agents name would be written

                    Though there is free look period in the policy which guarantees you for surrendering and getting back money

                   Slap a Legal Notice First making the Company , the Agent and , if you know the Name and Number of the agent who came (Both of them who first collected cheque and then cash )  and RBI  (the final controller of these Companies ) .

                   An advocate will make this Legal notice

                     First do this  and wait . 

                    Let us see what happens then

2 Like

ICICI Prudential (Customer Care)     23 November 2011

 

Hi, 

We are sorry to hear your experience. Please post your concern, along with your policy details, on https://www.iciciprulife.com/ipru/GrievanceRedressal.jsp and we will get in touch with you within next 48 hours

- ICICI Prudential

SURESH GODBOLE (ADVOCATE)     23 November 2011

Good ,

 

ICICI have reacted


But ICICI is requested to give full details of the Office (complete address) of the same town where Mr Nigam stays


He may send you a notice Registered AD on Postal Address

While going to them , note all the records here too , so that we may add our comments

Kumar Doab (FIN)     23 November 2011

Learned Mr. Godbole is right. In place of posting the complaint on internet the complainant may prefer to send notice by redg AD.

If you post the details the learned experts/members of the LCI shall chase the case of Mr. Nigam and Mr. AnonTN. If the complainant wishes to go public they can post their grievance with

https://www.ripoffreport.com/

investorprotectiong@yahoo.com

https://www.mouthshut.com/

complaint@network18online.com

pehredar@moneycontrol.com

 

pehredar@network18online.com

pehredar is also at face book

https://www.facebook.com/Pehredar

www.bighelpers.org

 

and there are many other consumer help portals.

You can also approach IRDA .The idea is Shame them and tame them.

 

 

 

ICICI Prudential

Customer Care

Hope you are watching, and have started resolution. Kindly post the details in the forum.

 

 

AnonTN (Consultant)     23 November 2011

Thank you Mr. Amit Arora, Mr. Kumar Doab, Mr. V. R. Shroff, Mr. R. C. Nigam, and Mr. Suresh Godbole for your valuable advice and moral support. Sorry for the long delay in responding to your comments.

 I'll try and get the "grievance" addressed online through ICICI Prudential website, and update the members of LCI. Hopefully this response will be positive. Goodluck to Mr. R. C. Nigam.

 

regds,


/-

Kumar Doab (FIN)     05 June 2012

IRDA directs the insurer ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, to remit the penalty of Rs 118 Lakhs within

a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of this Order through a cross demand draft

drawn in favour of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and payable at

Hyderabad.

 

Due to some technical problems at LCI website the file could not be attached.

However you can access the file at IRDA website:

https://irda.gov.in

 

 

Home >> WAP

Warnings and Penalties

or at:

https://irda.gov.in/ADMINCMS/cms/frmGeneral_Layout.aspx?page=PageNo1711

A few of points are reproduced below:

"Issue 21 - Inspection Observation 37: The Insurer is canceling policies under 'free look'

option even after few years of issue of the policies, major reason cited as erroneous

accounting.

Issue 23 - Inspection Observation 41: Decision :

 

The insurer is strongly warned to desist from such practices which are against the

interest of the policyholders.

Issue 23 - Inspection Observation 41:

A lot of delay is observed between the proposal date, remittance date and the completion

 

date. The insurer has violated Regulation 4(6) of IRDA (Protection of Policyholders' Interests)

Regulations 2002

 

Issue 23 - Inspection Observation 41:

However, recognizing that

the interest of the policyholders should be protected especially on disclosures , coverage of

risk and settlement of benefits , the insurer is advised to take all measures so as to ensure

that regulatory provisions are not deviated.

 

Issue 24 - Inspection Observation 42:

b)

Even in cases where the communications are stated to have been sent, it is not 2 months in

advance of the closure of a branch. c) The e-mail and/or SMS are only used to communicate

thus not covering all the policyholders. These are in Violation of Circular dated 28/12/2006

on offices."

AnonTN (Consultant)     31 January 2013

Did anyone here get their complaint  with ICICI Prudential resolved? Dealing with ICICI is like dealing with something really, really ..., well I'll skip the colourful language;)

I started with 1 lakh in December 2009, and 3 years later it is down to 16,030/-, less than one-sixth of the original amount, not considering inflation. Even with a fixed deposit I would have had 8 times more money. The so-called "foreclosure payout" has not reached me, since they apparently do not recognize the copy of my bank passbook front page, that I sent as address proof, and they haven't noted my previous requests at address change.

 The last email that I sent, I copied to ICICI's CEO, Ms. Chanda Kocchar, so she is now involved. If  dealing with this company's "customer service", you end up with "Dimple A" syndrome, responses from the rest of the workers there, is equally worse. They conveniently avoid answering crucial questions.

  I'm going to make a request to get the "duly signed application form" copy. Their email in Dec 2009, claims that "Photocopies of your application form" will be sent, but my previous requests to get this, went unanswered.


 How are the others doing? Those who paid more than one premium? My fund was Flexi Balanced, and I paid just one "premium" of one lakh, and it is now sixteen thousand. Sure they have used the tax benefit of upto 35,000/- as a cover, to "manage" the "fund", but something seems amiss, and as with the rest of the things, I have not got any information as to how they managed to pull off this feat. If others can put some numbers about their fund value, and how much they paid into it, and when, it will be useful to understand how they "manage" the funds, and to whose benefit.

 Anyway I'll publish more details, including most of the email communication, with some details masked to protect the guilty, so that people can learn about this company's modus operandi. I'll also explore other legal channels, it is going to be a long drawn out affair.

 

Regds

/-

alikhan (employee)     06 March 2013

 

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AnonTN (Consultant)     22 March 2013

I continue on the modus operandi of ICICI Prudential by explaining how your "application form" gets filled up, and how you end up with a "copy" of it in your "policy kit". As I mentioned before, the worker from NRI Services starts off with a pension plan that promises a guaranteed return of 13.4%, and shows a spreadsheet to convince you. At this point I have a NRE account, and a fixed deposit. But since I have returned back to India, and have to update my address, the worker says that the fixed deposit has to pre-closed. He takes Rs 5000/- from the fixed deposit ) for pre-closing the account. The interest rate was only about 3%, which went back to ICICI.  The worker doesn't offer any options that will help me avoid the charge, and returns back with a flourish at having achieved something for his bank and possibly his bonus. Now he is onto his next goal, get this money "invested" in a "pension plan".

A honest person would have stated that this is a unit-linked plan, and the returns are subject to market risk. But not this worker. Anyway I take this worker's words on trust, and the next time I return, I'm in another worker's office, the so-called cluster manager of ICICI bank, equivalent to a branch manager.
When a bunch of crooks have hooked you with their scam, but you still haven't handed over control of your money, there comes a phase where the crooks want to hurry you through. So this cluster manager, says hurry up, the good plan will not be there after December (2009), and we are in the middle of December. He goes on to add, that if I apply now, I'll get more units for the money. I ask this worker, what units are you talking about, I've been told that this is a plan with a guaranteed return of about 13%. He quickly tries to cover it up by saying that, that is how they allot the money, and I need not worry about it, I will get the guaranteed return.
 Although I had enough indication that these workers are not entirely honest, I didn't go with my gut feeling, a big mistake. The cluster manager, in a subsequent discussion, tries to make it like it was a communication issue, that the NRI services worker did not communicate properly. But that is not true, these workers (this includes the cluster manager himself) are trained to deceive, to bait, and switch, and later try and confuse the issue, so that it profits them, and the thing at the top, it's ceo, Ms. Chanda Kochhar.

 I do sign a blank form, which I assume is the application form. It seemed more like a general questionnaire that you fill in. It did have health questions that would be required for life insurance, which apparently was not relevant in my case. I was promised that I would get a photocopy of this "application form" along with the policy kit. I also hand over the cheque, the first year premium of one lakh.

  A week later, I get the policy kit, with a "welcome message" from an ICICI worker Ms. AP, who is an EVP (Executive Vice President, I presume) . This says "application form filled by you online after discussing the same with our representative". I do not know ICICI Prudential website, and during my visits there, no one sat before a computer and claimed to fill the application on my behalf. This "online application form" was filled by someone else, and when I was not around, quite possibly by some worker in Mumbai, not at my place, Coimbatore.

  The reason why I believe the application was "electronically signed" in Mumbai is the lack of knowledge of the chosen "fund" by the local workers. The fund, Flexi Balanced (referred to as F. Balanced in the premium receipt, is however not mentioned in the "policy certificate"), was a mystery to the workers, the cluster manager included. It was a rope-trick, like balancing a big rock, on the top of a rope. Yet its complexity did not prevent the ICICI Prudential workers from inventing several "flexis", an unversioned Flexi Balanced, various other forms of "flexis" and then they had FB I, FB II, and so forth.


  So I get the policy kit the last week on December 2009, I look at it, and it talks about market risk, with no mention of any guaranteed return. I take the kit, first week of January, and go to the cluster manager's office to get it cancelled. But this worker is adamant about not cancelling it, and offers a bunch of reasons. I ask for details about the plan that I was enrolled in, the workers state it must be "Flexi Balanced I". But when I ask for its NAV, it has no relation to what is in my premium receipt. They check out other "Flexi" funds, and after about 20 minutes, they end up with the unversioned "Flexi Balanced", and give me an account statement upto Dec 31st, 2009. With 3 workers inside the cluster manager's office, and a few other workers outside, it took a good deal of time to figure out what the "F. Balanced" in the premium receipt stood for, so it is more likely that the "online application form" was filled elsewhere.

  From a photocopy of the application form with my signature, we have made a great leap to an "online application form". This cannot be discussed without a few images, that I've attached to this post. This "online application" in the policy kit, at first appearance, you may be deceived into thinking is really the actual application form, that fell into something, was taken out, dried, and carefully photocopied. A clever piece of work!

Exhibit 1  Application Form
  Exhibit 1 shows a portion of the "application form", you can see how the font looks washed out, and hard to read.

Exhibit 2 EBI

Now let us get to the Exhibit 2, EBI (Electronic Benefits Illustration), here you can barely guess the numbers for the fifth year. Apparently this EBI is very important, because one of the workers, Ms. BC, grievance redressal officer, mentions that they have a "duly signed EBI".
In this EBI, that shows your fund value, with assumed returns of 6% and 10%. With a 6% return, you actually end up losing money the first year, because the fund "management" charges eat up the returns. ICICI apparently has a "duly signed EBI", signed by me of course, which is a surprise, when the workers who sold the fund used enough deception to hide the fact that anything is market linked.


  The "online application form" Exhibit 3 states that
"I declare that I am submitting a proposal for life insurance to ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd. (Company) through the Company's website, after satisfying myself of the truthfulness of the statements made by me herein and of the need to disclose all material facts as required under Section 45 of the Insurance Act, 1938.

I understand and I agree that by submitting this proposal through the Company's website, I will be bound ny such statements, non-disclosure of material facts in the same manner and to the same extent as if I have signed and submitted a written proposal for insurance to the Company.

I XXXXX understand that after my meeting with the FSC I have myself read, analyzed and understood the product and have decided to buy the policy online at my sole discretion"


Now if someone were to get the personal information of the thing at the top, Ms. Chanda Kochhar, and make an "online application" that is binding on her, the local cyber crime sleuths would be at that person's door. But here is an organized entity that has done it, even quoting the Insurance Act, in the process, and profits off of it. How nice! The wonderful workers of ICICI have taken away all the hard work of hand signing the application, or of being around to read and fill the application. Every thing has been "electronically" done for you, behind your back.

If you believe this "online application", it seems that not only did I go online to the "Company's web site", I interacted with some entity "FSC" to do that. Now this is not the "our representative" that I was supposed to have discussed with as claimed by its  EVP Ms AP on the very first page of the policy kit. What is this mysterious FSC, how did that thing show up, wherever I sat down to fill up the "application form", and how did "our representative" transform into this "FSC". What would be the relationship between ICICI, "our representative" and "FSC"? May be it pays for ICICI to cover up, if things go wrong, and blame some external "FSC".

Exhibit 4 Key Feature Document
Look at Exhibit 4, the part of the "application form" that says in bold and clear "Examine the application form and inform us of any non-disclosure". That's really a bunch of thumb-sucking innocents,  you are here to steal candy from these innocents, by "non-disclosure" on the "application form". How nice!  


Now look at the text from "Key Feature Document", Exhibit 5, the text is so much easy to read. The note here, clearly states that "If the fund value falls below 110% of the annual premium, the policy shall be terminated by paying the surrender value i.e. Fund Value after applying the surrender charges" .

Why did the ICICI workers put this in the "Key Feature Document", was it to mislead the "policy holder" into thinking that the returns will be high? Why did they not apply this rule, since as far as I understand my "Flexi Balanced" fund was always below 110% of the annual premium. The workers could have admitted to this deception, or claimed that they missed out the fact that this applies only at the end of the third year onwards. That would have been a deficiency in their perfect world, so they just avoid answering any questions raised about this point.


   The thing that is most apparent from the experiences of most people dealing with ICICI workers is that they are pathologically attracted to your money, like flies attracted to you know what. After a series of back and forth about getting my policy cancelled, one of the workers, the area manager Mr C, calls me up and says he wants to meet me and discuss the issue. I decline a face-to-face meeting, and ask him whether he understood the communication so far. It had been several months since I returned the policy document, and the next thing this worker says, now that the market is picking up, why don't you pay the next premium. The crudeness with this which this worker deals with the issue clearly shows that you'll get nowhere with these workers. All this worker can think off, is how to get money out of you, and profit himself and the thing at the top.

  To add to all this a few months back, a lady calls from ICICI, and then proceeds to sell me a policy with a "guaranteed return". I listen to her carefully, but ask her to email me the details. She has my email address, linked to my ICICI bank account, so she says will email the details, which of course she doesn't. The "guaranteed return" bait-and-switch scam apparently doesn't work well when you put things in writing.

Sometime back I saw in https://www.grahakseva.com, a lady complaining about being misled about her policy by a worker from ICICI Prudential. In response an ICICI worker comes back all charged up and says that "We have received reports of certain unauthorized individuals posing as official representatives of the company or regulator contacting customers for pitching new policies... We will investigate and take strict action against individuals who are misleading customers by making false promises.".  Here is our ICICI worker, a hero, ready to get on  his flying steed, and pursue criminals who make false promises, whatever corner of the earth they may be hiding. But when the lady quietly adds , how is it that this "unauthorized individual" has so much information about you, the worker doesn't respond. Its a bummer, no global flights for this worker to pursue criminals, he has to park his steed for now.



  Pension plans require you to keep paying money into the fund over a long period of time. Now the hard work of hand-signing the application has been eliminated, since the ICICI workers can "electronically sign" for you, you can just focus on handing over your money "through displined savings over a sustained period of time". This will "guarantee financial security of your family in the future". When it comes to ICICI you can simply be assured of it, after all the thing at the top was awarded the Padma Bhushan just a couple of years back.

 I'll release more of the communication in the next few posts, and also discuss about the "foreclosure payout" of Rs 16,030/- on a premium of one lakh. There may not be any discussion about the account statement which shows how that number was arrived at, since it seems, that the ceo is not literate enough to understand my request for the account statement! Of course, ICICI doesn't provide the final account statment by default, too much work over and above the entertainment they provide!

 


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