Hyderabad-based Jeevanseva Infotech is actively engaged in chain-marketing a personal accident policy in Amravati, Mumbai and Pune
Even as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) is busy fighting a turf war with market regulator SEBI, pyramid schemes are being peddled by corporate agents of various insurance companies. One such company is Jeevanseva Infotech India Pvt Ltd, a corporate agent of Reliance General Insurance, though the company’s website makes no mention of Reliance products.
Jeevanseva, a direct marketing firm based in Hyderabad, is actively engaged in multi-level marketing (MLM) of Reliance personal accident policy. The group regularly conducts sales-pitch meetings in some pockets of Amravati, Mumbai and Pune. Direct marketing firms are expanding their product offerings to include insurance products which offer high commissions. Jeevanseva has a host of other products on offer, including Goat’s milk tablets.
To become a member of the organisation, a person has to pay Rs1,550 as policy premium. If the member ropes in one client, he gets a commission of Rs150; if he ropes in two members, he gets a commission of Rs300, and so on. The policyholder has to renew his membership with Jeevanseva by paying Rs550 annually. The policy provides an accident cover of Rs3 lakh. The new member has to join under an existing ‘associate’ (read ‘policyholder cum agent’) of Jeevanseva. The existing member stands to benefit by recruiting new members. Thus, the chain keeps expanding.
Multi-level marketing is not permitted by the insurance regulator. An email query sent to Reliance General Insurance officials remained unanswered till the time of writing. Such MLM schemes clearly violate Section 42 of the Insurance Act, 1938, which prohibits appointing sub-agents and passing on commissions/kickbacks. Also, IRDA certification is mandatory for selling insurance products.
According to IRDA regulations, an insurance agent has to undergo a 100-hour training course to get a licence for the first time. When Moneylife contacted a distributor of Jeevanseva, he insisted that no training is required to sell insurance policies. Jeevanseva officials did not reply to our queries.
So, are insurance companies like Reliance aware of such activities by their registered corporate agents and deliberately turning a blind eye?
“It’s not that the insurance companies are not aware of it, but one can’t prove that. The agent can do anything. The agent’s actions are not ratified by the company. The issue has to be taken to IRDA because the company will wash its hands off the matter,” said a financial planner.
Jeevanseva is just one instance of MLM marketing. There are many such cases of pyramid schemes devised to sell insurance policies. Moneylife had earlier reported two cases of insurance agents resorting to chain-marketing schemes
(Read here http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/4613.html and here http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/4821.html).
Goldman Sachs lawsuit triggers sharp fall across global markets; downtrend may accelerate
The market swung sharply into negative territory on Monday, following weakness on Wall Street on Friday on news that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had filed civil-fraud charges against US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The BSE Sensex closed at 17,400, down 190 points (1%) from Friday’s close, and the Nifty closed 59 points lower (down 1%) at 5,203.
The market opened on a weak note and then slipped sharply, but it rebounded in the afternoon session to pare off some of the losses.
Stock markets across Asia lost ground on Monday, dragging the MSCI Asia Pacific index down by the most in two months, on concern that the US suit against Goldman Sachs signals increasing regulatory scrutiny on financial companies. The key benchmark indices in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan fell by 1.43% to 3.17%.
US stocks snapped a six-day winning streak with a sell-off on Friday (16th April) after Goldman Sachs was charged with fraud by US regulators and corporate earnings fell short of heightened expectations. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 126 points (1.13%) at 11,018. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 19 points (down 1.61%) at 1,192. The Nasdaq Composite was down 34 points (down1.37%) at 2,481.
The US treasury secretary has expressed confidence that the financial reforms will bolster the derivatives market and protect taxpayers from paying for any future bailouts.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revised its estimates of airline revenue losses to $250 million from $200 million earlier. Most of Europe's airspace has been closed since Thursday after a huge ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano spread out, stranding millions of business passengers and holidaymakers and paralyzing freight and businesses worldwide.
In the Indian market, foreign institutional investors were net buyers on Friday to the tune of Rs243 crore. Domestic institutional investors were net sellers, offloading stocks worth Rs188 crore. The rupee ended lower on Monday, taking a cue from the stock market.
Core Projects & Technologies (down 2.4%) has received an order worth Rs120 crore from the government of Maharashtra. The scope of the project includes setting up of computer infrastructure in schools across three districts of Maharashtra.
ABB (up .5%) has received an order from the Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company (BRBCL). BRBCL is a subsidiary of NTPC and Indian Railways. It is building a thermal power plant in Nabingarh to meet the increasing demand from rail networks in eastern and central India.
Roman Tarmat (down 1.6%) has received a project worth Rs 26.6 crore from the Tamil Nadu government for widening and strengthening the Minjur-Kattur-Thirupalaivanam Road.
Metal stocks were down on low demand for risky assets after the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman Sachs with fraud.
Petron Engineering (down 1.1%) has bagged a Rs180-crore order from Indian Oil Corporation for its Paradip Refinery project.
Jay Bharat Maruti (up 1.1%) posted an increase of 31% and 37% in sales and operating profit, respectively, in the March 2009 quarter over the corresponding year-ago period.
The monsoon is expected to be normal this year. The Met department said it expects scanty rainfall in the pre-monsoon season but rainfall will be in the normal range in July.
IL&FS Clusters is in talks with the governments of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh for developing industrial infrastructure in these states. At present, the group is working closely with the Karnataka government in the textiles sector
IL&FS Clusters Development Initiative Ltd plans to explore infrastructure development options in the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The company is in talks with the respective governments for developing industrial infrastructure for specific sectors. The company is already working with the Karnataka government to develop infrastructure for the state’s textiles sector.
“We are in talks with a few other states for working out things in a similar way like Karnataka. We are looking at states like Andhra Pradesh and Orissa,” said Girish Kamath, senior manager, IL& FS Cluster.
IL&FS Clusters is currently working with the Karnataka government on developing the industrial infrastructure for the textiles sector in the state. The group also has various other cluster-based projects all over the country. It is working with the ministry of textiles for developing integrated textile parks. “Out of around 45 planned parks, IL&FS is providing assistance to 33 of them,” added the official.
While, the group’s primary dominance has been in the textile and food-agro sectors, it also plans to explore other sectors. In Orissa and Karnataka, new sector opportunities, depending upon their predominance in the state, will be explored.
“We are looking at whether it should be a holistic model or some specific model (specific to a particular sector dominant in this state),” stated the official.
Apart from these sector-specific projects, the group also plans to bid for urban centres to be developed in different parts of the country. These government-initiated projects would be region-specific and not sector-specific.
“They (the government) have issued advertisements asking for private participation in developing infrastructure in the rural areas; we would be responding to them. Each project would require around Rs150 crore to Rs200 crore of investment. The government is planning around ten such projects,” said RCM Reddy, managing director, IL&FS Cluster Development Initiative Ltd.