General insurance fraud is an illegal act committed by the buyer or seller of a general insurance contract. For example, a seller may sell policies from a non-existent company, which is tantamount to exploiting an insurance contract.
It is important for policyholders to be aware of the various tactics used by fraudsters to defraud unsuspecting people. The fraud can relate to loan, payment, insurance, OTP, KYC or even cyber frauds such as phishing and vishing, among others. Financial products and services companies are trying to help consumers stay alert at all times to protect their information, money and insurance policies through awareness campaigns and initiatives.
Insurance fraud has increased during the pandemic and investigations have largely shifted to digital channels, according to a recent investigation by the Insurance Institute of India with Lancers Network in conjunction with the Association of Private Detectives and Investigators India and the International Fraud Trading group. “There is an overall increase in insurance fraud investigations after the start of Covid-19, with 55% of respondents confirming that their professional activities related to the fight against fraud have either increased overall or increased in a specific area of activity during the pandemic,” the report states.
You can follow some security tips and guidelines in order to stay safe and protected from any type of financial fraud. Here are some tips for policyholders to defeat fraudsters:
Check all offers: You should always verify the authenticity of an insurance caller. Beware of advice that required you to give up your insurance policy for seemingly more attractive insurance. Stay away from promises of bonuses, incentives, or perks offered by strangers or if they sound too good to be true. Contact the insurer directly for confirmation of the insurance policy information, either by email, calling their customer service number, or checking the policy on the insurer’s official website.
If the premium offered is lower than normal, check with the insurer. Never sign blank claim forms and never let an agent fill out policy forms. Don’t let offers related to urgency or a tight deadline put you under pressure.
Pay premiums the right way: If you pay the premium in cash, do not pay directly to the insurance agent or agency; pay the insurance company at a branch. Pay premiums online or by check or credit card to ensure the premium is deposited with the insurance company itself. Always ask for valid receipts for all premiums paid.
Avoid sharing confidential documents and data: Avoid sharing documents such as PAN card, Aadhaar card, passport and police number with third party or unknown person. A genuine general insurance company would not require you to submit original documents. Do not sign any blank checks or share confidential personal or policy details. Remember that no OTP, account ID or password should be shared with the insurance company representative or your insurance agent.
Check the QR code: Nowadays, insurance policies come with QR codes. You can verify the authenticity of the insurance policy using them. Just scan the QR code image using QR reader apps on smartphone.
Go through all the policy details carefully: Always read the insurance policy details carefully to verify the credentials and policy coverage details. Check the policy details before completing the form. Never sign an incomplete proposal form. Buy insurance policies directly from the insurance company or from authorized intermediaries to avoid falling into the trap of fake insurance policies.