Recently, a number of residents of Qiu County, Handan City, Hebei Province, have reported to Extreme News that they had purchased an annuity-type insurance product from the Qiu County branch of PICC Life Insurance Co. However, in December 2020, the consumers were unable to receive their dividends and the principal could not be withdrawn. Puzzled, they inquired about the status of their policy through the People’s Republic of China Life Insurance Co. national customer service phone number, only to be told that the policy did not exist, which blew up the consumers in Qiu County.
Personal Insurance Voucher
On February 24, Qiu County government staff told reporters that the city and county governments have intervened to investigate, the county branch of the relevant person in charge has been controlled.
The villager’s life savings to buy insurance, but was told it was a fake single
Recently, Mr. Zhu, who lives in Qiu County, Handan City, Hebei Province, reflected to the reporter of the Extreme News that since 2015, his father had repeatedly given his savings to the village agent, Mr. Wang (surnamed), to buy a product called Group Annuity B (with-profits) from the county human insurance company, with a total investment of more than 100,000 yuan. With each purchase of the product, the father was given a personal insurance certificate. Thereafter, the father could receive annual dividends from the agent in the form of cash on a regular basis, or he could choose to withdraw the principal.
“This product was bought in 2011, and it was advertised as the equivalent of regular savings. So my father was particularly relieved to hand over his money and there have been no problems in the past so many years. But after December 2020, the agent kept telling my father that the Qiu County branch could not get the money. Later my father went to the county human insurance company to say, the other side actually said that the voucher in my father’s hand is fake.” Mr. Zhu said.
Mr. Wang (surname), a resident of Qiu County, is the agent of a local village selling this insurance product. The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public.
Qiu County County Branch promotional materials
“Zhao Xihong found me and asked me to help sell this product in the village as a representative. Actually, it was mainly a job as an errand boy. The villagers gave me the cash, and I went to the county to give the money to the people at the insurance company and bring back the voucher for the purchase of the insurance. I did not sign an employment contract with the insurance company, Zhao Xihong only said that the sale of 10,000 yuan of products, the agent can make a profit of 60 yuan. Later it went up to 80 yuan.” Mr. Wang introduced.
According to Wang’s statistics, the amount of this insurance product purchased by his hands alone since 2015 has exceeded 9 million yuan, and he himself has spent tens of thousands of yuan on this product. “This product was not paid out properly in December last year. But in January this year, the county branch has not stopped the single, I last opened a single in early January.” Mr. Wang said.
Thousands of policies could not be redeemed, involving an amount of more than 60 million yuan
The polar news reporter saw from a complaint provided by Mr. Wang, according to the statistics of more than 30 agents in Qiu County, the amount of this insurance product purchased by their hands has exceeded 60 million yuan. At present, these amounts have not been withdrawn.
In addition to purchasing through the agents, residents of Qiu County and employees of the county branch have purchased the product at an office on the second floor of the Qiu County branch.
Qiu County County Branch promotional materials
Ms. Li, a resident of Qiu County, told reporters that she first came across the Group Annuity B (Participating) product in 2014. “At a product presentation at the county branch, Zhao Xihong introduced the product to customers. She said that the company had a business similar to regular savings, and the interest rate was also higher than that of banks. After hearing this promotion, I took cash to an office on the second floor of the company and bought this product. Later, when it matured every year, I would also go to this office to get the dividends in cash.” Ms. Li said.
The reporter saw that the individual insurance vouchers provided by the Qiu County consumers had the words “PICC China People’s Life Insurance Company Limited” printed on them and the business seal of the Handan City Central Branch of PICC in the lower right corner. The product type is: Group Annuity B (with-profits), with an annual interest rate of 4.5%.
Why was an insurance product that had been sold in the area for nearly 10 years suddenly unable to pay out? Puzzled, the local resident called PICC Life Insurance’s official customer service number 95518 to check the policy status through the insurance contract number on the voucher, only to be told that the policy did not exist.
“I bought this product from a company employee and paid for it inside the company. How can this policy not exist?” Ms. Li still can’t figure it out.
Ms. Shen is a salesperson for the county’s life insurance company. She told the Polar News reporter that when she joined the company in 2017, she heard the leaders preach about this product. “The company has been promoting this product as the equivalent of regular savings in banks, with higher interest rates than banks. And commercial banks may fail, but insurance companies don’t.” Ms. Shen said.
In this case, Ms. Shen invested 150,000 herself while acting as an agent for this product. Ms. Shen recalled that every Time someone approached her to buy the product, she transferred the money she received to a manager-level leader of the company, and then got a personal insurance voucher from the manager to send to the customer. The money for dividends was transferred directly from the manager to the customer’s account, and some customers came to the company to get their own dividends.
A policy that has been sold in the area for many years suddenly could not be redeemed, and the residents of the county were having trouble accepting it. The polarizing news reporter learned that after the incident, a number of residents of Qiu County went to the county and city levels of PICC Life Insurance Company to make a statement.
“Many people take this as regular savings and save money for their whole life. I also have quite a few colleagues who have also invested in this product, with the most one person investing 500,000. Now, we can’t even contact the company’s leaders.” Ms. Shen said.
The local government said the person in charge has been controlled
The reporter searched for the insurance products of People’s Insurance Company of China with the keyword “Group Annuity B” in the China Insurance Association. The website shows that PICC Life Insurance has issued two products called “PICC Life Insurance Group Annuity Insurance (Participating Type) (B)”. One product was designed as a “Traditional Product” and the other as a “New Product”, and the sales status of both products was “Discontinued”.
In addition, the product terms and conditions of both products state that the meaning of group in the contract is “a legal group of five or more people in mainland China that is not organized for the purpose of purchasing insurance. This includes state agencies, institutions, enterprises and institutions, industrial organizations, professional unions, etc.”
Personal insurance certificate
The reporter called Qiu County People’s Insurance Company customer service on the matter, the staff said the situation has been recorded and will be reflected to the higher levels. At press time today, no reply had been received from the company. The company’s responsibility is still shown as Zhao Xihong, according to SkyEye.
On February 24, the reporter called the propaganda department of Qiu County, and the staff responded that the Handan and Qiu County governments had intervened in the investigation. Before the Spring Festival, Qiu County police received the situation reflected by the residents and have verified the situation with Handan Human Life Insurance Company.
“After verification, it is true that some things in this are forged. Now, Qiu County police have taken control of the person in charge of the Qiu County branch who once handed over this business. However, the incident is still under investigation and has not been fully characterized yet. The county government will definitely do its best to protect the interests of the residents.” The staff said.
Liu Junhai, director of the Institute of Commercial Law at People’s University of Mainland China, told the Extreme News that in this incident, if the insurance products purchased by the simple residents could not be redeemed properly, the policyholders and beneficiaries have the right to demand that the insurance company assume liability for breach of contract. However, consumers are currently unable to check the status of their policies within the company’s system, indicating that they may not have bought the company’s products.
“In this specific case, even though the insurance company’s employees may not have been authorized by the Home office to peddle this product, or even acted personally. But the fact is that these employees were employees of the company on duty, and the place of sale was within the company’s place of business, and the processing time was during the company’s business hours. According to the Civil Code, if the consumer has good reason to believe that the staff agency, even if he does not have agency, can be handled in accordance with the staff has agency, that is, apparent agency.” Liu Junhai said.
Liu Junhai further explained that in the case of apparent agency, the insurance company still has to assume civil liability to the consumer and fulfill its contractual obligations. At the same time, the authorities in charge of the case then recover from the staff of the insurance company without authority to act. If the investigation results show that the staff member constitutes a crime, he or she will be held personally responsible according to law and the stolen money he or she obtained will be refunded to the insurance company.
“For financial consumers, the insurance company to first bear the legal consequences caused by the company staff without authority to act. This is called the bridge to the road to the road, inside and outside the difference.” Liu Junhai said.