Agents are using the SMS medium with a ‘golden’ bait to lure customers
Insurance agents seem to be devising newer and more devious ways to mis-sell policies to gullible investors. An agent based in Chennai is now using the SMS medium with a 'golden' bait to lure investors into a fixed-deposit scheme with a Bajaj Allianz pension plan.
The SMS message doing the rounds reads: "BAJAJ FREE SPOT 1 GRAM GOLD COIN or CHAIN OFFER : DEPOSIT 7700 /YR For 3Yr BEFORE JUN5 GET Approximately 46200 at 5yrs,FREE PENSION PLAN.SAVE TAX CAL:9840197429." (The message has not been corrected for grammar).
We received this message via email from a person claiming to be a Bajaj Allianz employee based in Chennai, who did not want to be named. The employee reveals, "Such SMS marketing campaigns are being employed by many agents. Our managers know about this and are silent as they (these campaigns) improve sales." The source also adds that since Tamil Nadu is the poorest-performing state in terms of sales, the management is turning a blind eye to such dubious marketing schemes engineered by agents.
When Moneylife contacted the number mentioned in the SMS on Monday, a female staff member confirmed that the agent was indeed selling Bajaj Allianz products. However, she spoke in halting English and could not provide complete details of the scheme despite persistent queries. When Moneylife called again later, we were informed that their 'team leader' would call us soon to explain the scheme. When we did not get the promised call, we tried calling up again but this time the phone was switched off.
Today (Tuesday), we received another mail from the Bajaj Allianz employee, saying that the staff at the Chennai office had received an email warning of departmental action against officials using such SMS campaigns to drive sales.
When we contacted a senior official from Bajaj Allianz's headquarters in Pune for an official response, he said: "We are investigating the case and will take appropriate action."