Anti-regime activists from Syria alleged that the army had used chemical arms in its bombardment on the densely-populated Ghouta suburbs killing 650 people
More than 650 people were killed when Syrian army used chemical weapons for bombardment in suburbs of Damascus on Wednesday. The Opposition has branded it a 'massacre' and called for international intervention.
According to activists, hundreds of people died of gas inhalation and exposure to chemical weapons.
Syrian authorities, however, had denied charges that the army used chemical arms. “Reports on the use of chemical weapons in (the suburbs of) Ghouta are totally false,” state news agency SANA said adding, “It’s an attempt to prevent the UN commission of inquiry from carrying out its mission.”
Britain, meanwhile, said it would refer the alleged chemical weapons attack, which could not immediately be verified and has been vehemently denied by the Damascus regime to the United Nations (UN).
While the Syrian National Coalition gave a toll of 650 dead, a Britain-based monitoring group said earlier that at least 100 people had been killed and the number was rising.
“This figure will surely go up. The raids and bombardment are continuing,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers its information from activists and medics.
It did not comment on allegations by anti-regime activists that the army had used chemical arms in its bombardment of the densely-populated Ghouta suburbs where rebels have been holding out against Government forces.
The British pound has become the first major foreign currency to cost more than 100 rupees apiece
The Indian rupee closed Wednesday at 64.02 against the US dollar, while breaching the 101 lever against the British pound as foreign investors continued to unwind their investments from the stock markets.
After opening at 63.45, the domestic currency moved in a range of 64.53-63.15 intra-day before closing at 64.02 against the US dollar. The rupee had closed at 63.23 on Tuesday.
Losing its ground further, the Indian currency also hit a new low against the British pound and breached the 101-level in the afternoon trade.
After crossing the 100-level for the first time ever against the British pound in intra-day trade yesterday, the rupee had managed to close marginally below this mark at 99.04 against the pound.
However, it slipped further to as low as 101.20 this afternoon at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market.
The rupee has depreciated by around 22% against the British pound over the past three months from close to 83 level in mid-May. It was at about 80 in March.
The pound has become the first major foreign currency to cost more than 100 apiece. It is the most expensive against the Indian rupee among major foreign currencies, followed by the euro, Swiss franc, US dollar, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar and Singapore dollar.
Bajaj Allianz Life sold ULIP to a consumer without obtaining his signature on the sales illustration, as mandated by IRDA. Moneylife intervention helped to solve a difficult case that even insurance ombudsman had refused to take up. Bajaj Allianz generously agreed to a settlement of Rs30,000
An agent of Bajaj Allianz Life had sold Capital Unit Gain ULIP to a consumer without obtaining his signature on the sales illustration, as is directed by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). The policyholder paid three premiums and then surrendered the policy. After finding about the IRDA directive, he raised the issue on technical grounds. Even though the policyholder filed complaint at an advanced stage, Moneylife intervention helped to solve a difficult case with kind consideration of Bajaj Allianz Life who were generous to pay Rs30,000 to the policyholder. It was an intricate case that was refused to be taken up by the insurance ombudsman of Hyderabad.
Moneylife Foundation Insurance Helpline received following email from Chirag Rao (name changed).
I had bought Bajaj Allianz Capital Unit Gain ULIP on 14 Sep 2007. My annual premium was Rs75,000 and I paid it for three years and surrendered the policy on 13 Sep 2010. The amount I received after surrendering the policy was approximately Rs2.01 lakh. I later came to know that IRDA had directed Bajaj Allianz Life to withdraw the product within 15 days from the date the directive was issued i.e. 13 Aug 2007 as the product was not customer friendly. Bajaj Allianz sought an extension of period for selling the policy. IRDA gave them an extension till 15 Sep 2007 to sell the policy with the condition that the policy must be accompanied by sales illustration signed by the policy buyer.
Mr Sam Ghosh, then managing director of Bajaj Allianz in his interview to Economic Times in Sep 2007 said that further sale of Capital Unit Gain ULIP will be done only if the policy buyers signed the sales illustration. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2007-09-03/news/28468876_1_mis-selling-ulips-actuarial-funded IRDA in its directive had also mentioned that it will conduct inspections in the future to verify if signatures have been obtained on sales illustration. In reply to my RTI application to IRDA asking them if any inspection had been done to verify the same, I received a reply that the information was not available.
I initially registered a complaint with IRDA IGMS (Integrated Grievance Management System) # 04-13-020634 and 05-13-011717. Bajaj Allianz have accepted in their reply to my complaint that there has been a procedural lapse on their part, but also contended that this would not amount to mis-selling. If the sales illustration had been shown to me I would have had second thoughts on buying the policy in question. I also complained to the office of the insurance ombudsman, Hyderabad. I received a reply that my complaint does not come under their purview and that I may contact IRDA, which had issued the directive.
Is Mr Rao case an aberration or many policyholders suffered due to Bajaj Allianz purported “procedural lapse”? Sep 2007 Economic Times interview has Mr Ghosh stating, “We will print lakhs of forms and distribute them to our agents. If an agent does not bring in a signed copy of the illustration along with the proposal, we will ask him to go back and get one.” Clearly, it was not done in the case of Mr Rao. It proves that Bajaj Allianz did not comply with what it’s then managing director told media.
Bajaj Allianz had not given any indication of accepting Mr Rao’s request. Moreover, why does IRDA’s reply to the RTI reveal that there is no information with IRDA itself on them conducting inspections? Moneylife took the issue with IRDA. Bajaj Allianz changed their stand with reply to Moneylife stating, “We are in talks with customer. As agreed by him and on his explicit consent, we have initiated the process of settlement.” Bajaj Allianz Life refunded Mr Rao an amount of Rs30000 within four days.
Before Moneylife intervention, Bajaj Allianz Life had refused to budge with policyholder request. It is evident from their email response to the policyholder grievance, which states, “Any grievance as regards mis-selling cannot be entertained by the company at this belated stage after you have already enjoyed insurance cover and surrendered the policy in accordance with the terms and conditions as contained in the contract of insurance. In fact payment of renewal premium without protest is sufficient to indicate your ratification of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. You have not been able to indicate how you have been prejudiced on account of the procedural lapse in not obtaining your signatures on the sales illustration in the year 2007 and the reason for raising such grievance after the policy is already surrendered.”
Benefit illustrations of many old ULIPs were mis-leading. Thus, taking signature of customer on flawed benefit illustration may not mean much. Agents would present deceptive benefit illustration, sanctioned by the Regulator to seal the deal. Moneylife had written about how one customer relied on the misleading benefit illustration of HDFC Life Young Star product that conveniently ignored the steep mortality charges, which made up for 80% of the premium for one policy.