HDFC Standard Life Insurance asked to pay Rs five lakh

Insurance Ombudsman in Chandigarh has asked private insurer HDFC Standard Life Insurance to pay Rs five lakh with interest to an NRI complainant after holding the company responsible for mis-selling a policy.

“An award is passed with a direction to the insurance company to make payment of Rs five lakh with interest at rate of eight per cent from the date of complaint that is March 2, 2010,” said Insurance Ombudsman (Chandigarh), Manik Sonawane in his order.

Mis-selling means deliberate, reckless or negligent sale of products or services in circumstances where the contract is either misrepresented, or the product/service is unsuitable for the customer’s needs.

The complainant, Satnam Singh Randhawa, who is working as a driver in USA, had said in his complaint filed in 2010 that he bought life insurance policy from HDFC Standard Life Insurance under single premium mode in 2006 during his visit to India.

He said the agent of the company told him that it was a single premium policy but later on it was found that it was a yearly premium policy with Rs five lakh to be paid annually.

Even the company representative acknowledged during the proceedings that the proposal form was not for single premium policy and Rs five lakh was an annual premium under the said policy.

When Randhawa approached HDFC Standard Life Insurance, he was told that only Rs 2.70 lakh was payable which was not acceptable to him.

Complainant also accused the company of not delivering the policy bond despite several reminders.

The company representative was asked to produce the proof of premium reminder and lapse intimation of the policy sent to complainant that could not be produced, Ombudsman found.

“… during the course of hearing by complainant and representative of company, I am of the opinion that it is a clear case of mis-selling of policy.

“The policyholder is only 8th class pass and is working as a driver in USA and is neither adequately literate to know the intricacies of the policy nor he was explained about factual position. There was inordinate delay in communication with the policy holder.

“No sincere efforts were made by the insurance company in a time-bound manner and the case has been dealt quite casually,” Ombudsman wrote in his order.

Notably, mis-selling of insurance policies top the list of complaints lodged by aggrieved customers with the Chandigarh Insurance Ombudsman as it is having over 2,000 complaints pending pertaining to life insurance and non-life insurance products.