Are your insurance details all in the public?

More and more insurance companies are getting hold of your personal details

Recently a Moneylife reader started receiving calls from number 30247032 in Mumbai claiming to be from Kotak Life Insurance’s office in Malad (Mumbai). The caller stated that Kotak Smart Advantage ULIP is being discontinued, but they are unable to send a letter to everyone as there are over five lakh customers. The caller had all the policy details including the latest fund value. The caller assured the reader all the necessary help to surrender the policy after receiving annual policy premium of Rs25,000. 

A call to Kotak Life by the Moneylife reader revealed that the product as well as policy is still active. It did comfort him, but the calls just kept coming periodically. The caller began saying that if the policyholder gets into trouble he will not be able to help to recover the surrender value at that stage. The policyholder was mentally aggravated and was tempted to stop the ECS payment for one month just to see if the “real” Kotak Life Insurance calls him. After we heard from the policyholder, we told him not to stop the ECS payment. 

People get hounded by calls from insurance companies once they buy a policy. But it is alarming when you start getting calls from dubious agencies which have your personal details and egg you on to surrender your policy or dictate you to do some other things which suit their interests. It was hard for the Moneylife reader to believe that the calls may not be from the insurance company as the caller knew all the policy details, including the fund value. Moreover, the reason to surrender may seem genuine for those who are not insurance savvy—the product is getting discontinued. 

It is important to note the following:

Even if IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) were to discontinue any product, the existing policyholders are protected and the insurance company cannot force them to surrender the policy

It is always better to contact the insurance company on the official number or email and hear what they have to say

Do not make a premium payment to anyone other than authorised intermediary or directly to insurance company. It is advisable to write the policy number on the cheque and get acknowledgement of the cheque receipt for a specific policy. In many instances dubious agencies route the premium to open a new policy for gaining upfront commission which will even include forging your signature.

Moneylife did call the so-called Kotak office. The reception desk confirmed the number. They asked if we received a call from anyone about the policy and if so, to give them the policy number so that the right person will call back. We asked to speak with a person called Mahajan. The receptionist stated that there are multiple people with same name and hence the right person shall call back after sometime. We never received the call and now the number is perpetually engaged. They may have found that it was a call from the media.

Another Moneylife reader keeps getting calls from ICICI Pru Life almost once in a week just because he had purchased a ULIP policy in 2007. The pitch is different every time. Either its a new product, new financial manager assigned or some offer for being an existing customer. It is an irritant, but the reader can deal with it by banging down the phone. What caught his attention was call from someone claiming to be from Birla Sunlife pitching for its product. 

This Moneylife reader does not have any Birla Sunlife policy. Some queries revealed that caller knew the name and phone number. The answer to how they got the information generated a standard answer that it is on the LIC database. How it magically appeared on their database is a mystery. Moreover, these unsolicited calls come even if your mobile number is on the “do-not-call” list and even on a direct phone line at a work place. According to Kotak Life Insurance, there is no sharing of database between insurance companies. While it may be true, it does not explain all the different calls received from entities that should not have access to your personal information. 

One Kotak Life policyholder got a call which claimed to be from the insurance company about problem with the ECS payment. After taking the necessary steps to make the payment, the policyholder called back the number. It turned out to be the broking company which posed as an insurance company representative. The broker had made the call due to its interest in the renewal commission. Just because the caller says it is from insurance company, you cannot ascertain who is making the calls.

It’s amazing how competing insurance companies come to know that your car insurance is due for renewal. You may get a phone call or text messages urging you to switch insurance companies. Mediclaim and car insurance are yearly contracts and aggressive marketing is a norm. One interesting text message we received for car insurance was from someone selling ICICI Lombard products. It stated that they have “mouthwashing” insurance offer. Are they selling toothpaste or mouthwash instead of car insurance?

One Moneylife reader gets ECS payment reminders by email from Birla SunLife Insurance. The nuisance is that the customer’s full bank account number is in the emails, which is a security risk. It is a lax approach by the insurance company as it is better to not spell out the bank account number or mask most of the digits.

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Vinay Parikh
1 decade ago
I do have a different kind of problem. My cell no. is in do not call list. So for the last 3-4 months I am receiving calls on my landline no. from different insurance cos. for ULIP etc. They know my name and say that the insurance co. provided them with the phone no. One dat surprisingly I got a call (said to be) from IRDA regarding my insurance policy. The only point I want to insist is privacy.
suresh kumar gupta
1 decade ago
Hon sir I am certified financial consultant of HDFC STANDARD LIFE INSURANCE CO LTD Mumabi. my code number is 00041214 My request you as under. 1, Company has terminate me on the basis of false complaint of LOCAL STAFF i.e. BALOTRA branch 2. The both person has left the company 3. Due to my termination and lake of services my innocent client has lost almost 20 lakha INR AND POLICY HAS DEACTIVATED. 4. I very humbly request to company to provide the letters/emails/on which basis the company has terminate me but company has not provide the papers. 5.i also pray to company to provide the clause of agency agreement on which basis i have voilete this clouse but company has not replied my a singal word. Pl help to resolve my issue and reach a free and fa ir investigation in the interest of INNOCENT CLIENTS
the CEO OF HDFC SLIC MR.AMITABH CHAUDHARY mail id is [email protected]

1 decade ago
This is common now a days. Actually, if your insurance agent has left the company or is inactive, the sales manager of the insurance company or some other employee gives that agent's policy details to some broker. Now, that broker tries to convince you to surrender the policy. The best way is request them to send an email to you for their new proposal. They will never call you back.
1 decade ago
1) Do not fill any visitor register in malls with critical details like name, DOB, Address
2) In some eatjoints some dealer boys pose as mobile company representative and just ask for filling of personal details so that you are picked up for a lucky prize - Dont fill or fill some information wrong like DOB
3) Refuse to answer calls from any agents offering surprise gifts
4) If agent requests address to come to home or office to give a demo - Refuse
5) For creating accounts in website you may have to enter contact details. Enter wrong info for DOB and house number
Using critical details like name, DOB and address crooks can get details from the call centers.
Replied to Ram comment 1 decade ago
good points
Govind Shanbhag
1 decade ago
Pradhan Jee - Aila I thought I was the only victim of such phone calls. I have taken a policy from RELIANCE LIFE INSURANCE (RLI) for 10 years after paying one time premium of Rs.36 K. I started getting phone calls from some call centre at Gurgaon stating that although I had paid one time premium, there is some shortfall as agent had made some mistake in calculating and asked me to shell out additional Rs.15,000/- or policy will lapse. I rushed to RLI in Borivali and they said my policy is valid, active and fully paid. Afterwards I started telecalls from Gurgaon at regular intervals and surprisingly they had all details about me and my family. I lodged a complaint with Corporate Office of RLI and also with IRDA and further action initiated by these two not evidient. About 45 days back, I received a telecall from Thane asking me to take additional policy for same amount for 5 years with 50% premium as RLI has decided to give concession to existing clients a bonanza. Last week I received a telecall from RLI-Kandivali office stating that RLI insurance is not doing well so it is advisable to prematurely close the policy and take fresh policy with some other company. In fact for first complaint from RLI-Gurgaon, I provided full details to CFO-RLI including the cell no. One funny part is whenever these calls are received on your cell, when you try to redial the message comes "you seems to have dialled a wrong no." and line gets disconnected. My objection to CFO-RLI is details about me and my family is confidential in nature and how was this passed on third party - and I have not received any reply for the last one and half years. I think some insiders have caught hold of loopholes in the system and trying to encash with gullible investors.
Replied to Govind Shanbhag comment 1 decade ago
exactly what we were writing. difficult to know who is really calling and how they get all the details. personal data should not be shared with anyone, but it seems to be.
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