Thousands duped by insurance scam

Thousands of Australians have been sold into invalid insurance products.

Thousands duped by insurance scam

In the latest scam to hit the financial sector, thousands of Australians have been sold insurance products that they will never be able to claim on or simply don’t need. American-owned company ‘Combined Insurance’ is at the centre of the scandal with whistleblowers reporting that a large number of agents, in order to boost sales, have encouraged customers not to disclose problems or have failed to record them.

Agents who sell insurance still earn commission on every sale and a whistleblower has suggested that the firm’s aggressive sales culture encourages bad practices.

ASIC has launched a major investigation into the practice of Combined Insurance, however, none of the agents caught up in this scandal have been stood down and they are still continuing to sell products.


Read more from www.TheAge.com.au

Opinion: Beware door-to-door salesmen

In past generations, door-to-door salesmen would offer products or services of great value that you would need or want. As the business world has moved online, the quality of these door-to-door offerings has deteriorated so we now have company salespeople looking to push a very specific product or service of dubious value on to the homeowner.

Many of the reported cases in the current insurance scam occurred when door-to-door salesmen came to the house and were invited inside to talk about the products on offer. The homeowners were then sold into insurance policies on the spot, many being fed false information or being told to not disclose certain medical or financial information that would prevent them receiving insurance.

Generally speaking, irrespective of what’s being pedalled, you should never agree to purchase or sign-up for a service on the spot. Ask the seller to provide you with an information pack so that you can shop around to see if there is a more suitable service or product for your needs.

When was the last time a door-to-door salesman visited? Did they try to persuade you to purchase something you didn’t need? Is the regulator, ASIC, doing enough to protect the consumer?





    COMMENTS

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    GeeDub
    7th Apr 2015
    10:37am
    Do 'religious' nutcases count as selling?
    wally
    7th Apr 2015
    12:12pm
    Only if you "swallow" what they are "selling".
    Mamacrystal
    7th Apr 2015
    10:46am
    I don't invite ANY strangers in, have a padlock on gate, and a "Do Not Knock" sign on door"....works for me. Now if only I could do all that with sub continent callers (including "Microsoft Windows" calls, life would be sweet indeed!
    BTW, my insurance is with one of the Big 4 Banks....works for me.
    Star Trekker
    7th Apr 2015
    12:35pm
    Purchase a Telstra "Call Gurdian 301" phone and have caller i.d.
    The caller has to announce who they are and you have the choice to answer or block them. I have one, it is the best thing Telstra has brought out.
    Wstaton
    7th Apr 2015
    12:38pm
    I can tell instantly if it is a phone call from a seller. You can notice that 90% of the time they do not answer immediately to your hello. As soon as I see this I hang up the phone.
    Mamacrystal
    7th Apr 2015
    1:20pm
    I have a cheaper phone :)
    Still when its Microsoft Windows calling and I am in the mood I sometimes have a bit of nonsensical fun then hang up....sometimes I am very rude! :D
    RosePerth
    7th Apr 2015
    1:26pm
    I have a security door with that one-way mesh and I never open it to strangers. They have to talk to me through it, not being able to see me but I can see them. Never buy or donate at the door. Caller id on my phone sorts out the wheat from the chaff but, when in the mood, I have some fun with the Microsoft callers (particularly as I have Mac!).
    HOLA
    7th Apr 2015
    1:40pm
    Mamacrystal - why don't you be like George Clooney who has put signs around his property saying there is a $600.00 fine that will be issued to those who trespass his property.
    Mamacrystal
    7th Apr 2015
    2:27pm
    Hola what I have now works for me.....I don't need to copy Mr Clooney
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    2:34pm
    My Door Mat says it all for Me !! "Make My Day.. **SS OFF !! " :-)
    CindyLou
    7th Apr 2015
    10:59pm
    Ditto Star Trecker...this phone is the best, calls screened, absolutely no nuisance calls now.
    downunder
    7th Apr 2015
    12:27pm
    Question: WHY would you buy an insurance policy from a door to door salesman/woman? Ask yourself. Insurance is important especially accident and income support insurance, BUT it can be so complex and you probably don't understand much about it, so you trust a door-knocking stranger? Give me a break and have a close look into the mirror and ask yourself: where do I go for information? Whom do I trust? Talk to several ppl and institutions. The bank is not necessarily the best place, they'll only flog you their associated product. P{laces like 'Life Choices or choice or do a general internet search or or or, BUT don't but from a traveling door to door policy peddler.
    Wstaton
    7th Apr 2015
    12:35pm
    All people should put on their door. "I don't buy from door to door salespersons"
    Wstaton
    7th Apr 2015
    12:32pm
    It would seem that normal people cannot escape. What with this government dumping down on the less well off, Multinationals rorting the system to pay minimum tax, Banks with crummy financial advisers, Crummy independent financial advisers, Pyramid schemes and now rorting insurance agents, what more is to come. How can the normal people of this country win. The governments do nothing except to the people who can't fight back except to kick them out at the next election only to bring in another government who does nothing.

    What's more our regulatory departments seem to ignore all until they hit the headlines. What the heck are we paying them for.
    MILA
    7th Apr 2015
    12:41pm
    Well said Wstaton!!
    MICK
    7th Apr 2015
    1:11pm
    I said esrly on that this government would not act against the multinational mates. It didn't. I also stated that it would act in the interests of its mates in the big banks by repealing the legislation brought in by the previous government to protect consumers. It did.
    Don't expect this government to ever do something which benefits the community unless it is in the interests of big business. As Wayne Swan (correctly) said..."this government is a wholly owned subsidiary of Newscorp".....referring to it being business owned there to do the bidding of big business and their rich owners.
    Mamacrystal
    7th Apr 2015
    1:22pm
    I agree
    Wstaton
    7th Apr 2015
    1:24pm
    Yep we saw how Murdock rorted billions to avoid tax recently and his mates will do nothing about it.
    Kato
    7th Apr 2015
    1:40pm
    You left out the useless and should be made redundant ASIC.
    KSS
    7th Apr 2015
    1:53pm
    Oh come on Wstaton, how is this the fault of the current (or any for that matter) government? You cannot legislate for stupidity. If people are still letting unknown random sales people into their homes then agreeing to whatever they are selling, then I have nice harbour bridge I'd like to sell them. Or how about a nice new driveway?

    Anyone can front up to your house with 'official' looking forms generated that morning with a basic PC and printer. They do not even have to be from a bone fide company. They say a fool and his money are soon parted. Seems this is what happened here and now those 'caught' are looking for someone to blame. Better to look in the mirror than blame the government or anyone else.
    MILA
    7th Apr 2015
    12:40pm
    How pathetic what Combine Insurance has done! Pretty obvious Australian legislation has allowed this to happen: the public should be protected by Law: nothing new under the sun.Investigation is needed but, what about the damage that has been caused to many?
    Wstaton
    7th Apr 2015
    12:47pm
    I think this may be the tip of the iceberg MILA. Like the Financial Advisers in the CBA saga where one incident brought so much more out of the cupboards with other banks. I think this may well do that as well. I bet there is a lot of scurrying going on now with a few other insurers.
    MILA
    7th Apr 2015
    12:44pm
    Regarding your door to door salesmen: well, a pretty obsolete selling techinque. Who would consider buying anything from someone at the door? Today, one get mainly foreigners doing this kind of "job" to earn a buck: also students. Sometimes, one is told "I wish to give you a gift" etc: rather NO THANKS. As far a Jehova Witness who also try "to sell you" a religion ....get you in: they keep on coming on regular basis despite telling them No thanks...... I would only say DO NOT OPEN YOUR DOOR TO ANYBODY THAT YOU DO NOT EXPECT TO COME : Seniors beware!
    KSS
    7th Apr 2015
    1:59pm
    Its not just Seniors Beware! Its everyone!!!! And its not just 'foreigners' doing this kind of 'job' either. There are plenty of home-grown rogues too.
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    2:45pm
    Get one of My Famous Door Mats !! :-)
    Paulodapotter
    7th Apr 2015
    5:26pm
    oh come on, I love JWs. It's like having a face to face blog. They try to convince me I'm going to hell and I tell them I was in heaven until they arrived at my door.
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    5:32pm
    I tell them WE HAD PARADISE Before they Invaded ! :-)
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    5:35pm
    OOPS !! :-( Wrong JW's !!
    missmarple
    9th Apr 2015
    12:28pm
    I don't have the JW's come to my door anymore since I told them not to come back until they could answer my question " if god created man and woman, where did god come from" I am sorry if I offend anyone who is religious, but I am not
    particolor
    9th Apr 2015
    2:17pm
    Goodness !! Who made Him Who Made Him Who Made Him ?? :-) LOL
    MICK
    7th Apr 2015
    1:04pm
    Lets see if this government protects the crooks as they did when the Commonwealth Bank scandal hit the fan. My bet is that nothing will be done to protect comsumers: the expected outcome from a clearbtrack record.
    Adrianus
    8th Apr 2015
    8:43am
    It would seem it's not just Combined taking advantage of the old and vulnerable.
    Chris B T
    7th Apr 2015
    1:25pm
    Fine example of white collar crime, without the sincerity of the law to remore these people and prosecute them.
    But someone weeing in the street on 3 different occasions locked up under The Mandatory Laws.
    What hope do we have. One petty crime and one concocted, mischievous act to defauad by devious means to dupe people selling useless products.
    Kato
    7th Apr 2015
    1:41pm
    How many times have we seen the headline ASIC launches a major Investigation only to never hear anything about said Investigation.
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    4:17pm
    Big Salaries for Not Interfering came to mind ? :-)
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    2:39pm
    WHAT ELSE IS NEW ?
    Sandy
    7th Apr 2015
    4:09pm
    Combined Insurance is only one of all companies who refuse to pay a claim based on the omitted or fabricated information given on the application.

    So what's new!
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    4:19pm
    Not much is New under this Shady Sun !! :-(
    Wstaton
    7th Apr 2015
    4:26pm
    A elderly friend of mine was sitting watching TV when it suddenly blew up with smoke and fire issuing from it. Her son who was visiting picked it up and quickly threw it outside.

    She claim on here home and contents insurance. They would not pay until she supplied a report explaining why it blew up. ????????

    Now I ask you, how do you explain something like that. Just one of the things that insurance companies will do to avoid payment.
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    4:31pm
    She should have said She was watching a Documentary on Syria !!
    Paulodapotter
    7th Apr 2015
    5:19pm
    Your biggest risk is from so-called legitimate insurers. I found out to my detriment that I was not covered with house insurance for any loss due to any circumstances though I had been insured by the same insurer for more than 20 years. My last insurance bill was in excess of $1000. Fortunately, I did not have to make a claim. What I did not realise was that the insurers underwriters would not pay out insurance because I owned a potter's kiln even though there was nothing in the insurer's details of insurance coverage booklet that indicated it was a no-no. When I happened to inform them of the existence of my kiln (even though it was 50 metres from my residence) my insurance was terminated with no hope of redress within three weeks of my notifying them of the existence of my kiln. You must always check to see if the underwriters will cover you for all the contingencies that your insurer insists you are covered for. My insurer was RACQ and I warn everyone who owns a kiln, whether it be for jewellery, pottery, glass blowing or for any purpose, your home is not covered if you are with RACQ. RACQ underwriters will not cover you for loss or damage of any kind. Insurance companies feed off your fear, but if they can find a way to weasel out of paying out, they will. Do your homework. I am now with Elders.
    Paulodapotter
    7th Apr 2015
    5:28pm
    If you own a pizza oven, you better find out if you're still covered.
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    5:39pm
    My Gourmet Fry Pan just went in the Bin !! :-(
    AquarianIdealist
    7th Apr 2015
    6:00pm
    There are so many vulnerable people out there that they need better protection from these crooks. Catch them ,incarserate them and strip them of their assetts. Come on polies start doing your job and protect these vulnerable people.
    particolor
    7th Apr 2015
    6:18pm
    Starting with the Front Bench and working Up !! :-)
    KSS
    7th Apr 2015
    8:55pm
    It is not for politicians to stop people letting others into their home and then buying whatever they are selling. If people do that they actually do have 10 days cooling off period in which they can read the paperwork without someone breathing down their neck, and they can cancel any purchase without penalty. So what exactly should a politician do in that situation? People are responsible for who they invite into their home - no-one else!
    Jezemeg8
    7th Apr 2015
    6:24pm
    I don't have an expensive phone, my 'cheapie' from Kmart comes with an answering machine and caller ID. If a 'private number is displayed as the caller and that person doesn't leave a message then I simply don't pick up. If I don't recognise the number and there is no message then the same thing.
    As to door to door callers....they NEVER get invited inside. In days gone by it may have been deemed as rude to talk to someone without opening your door, but in these times it's wise to keep a locked security door between the unsolicited caller and oneself.
    Not Senile Yet!
    8th Apr 2015
    12:47am
    To KSS...I agree with your comments.....buyer beware always!
    However, we are not America....We are Australia....and because of that difference we can be wise enough to NOT copy their open slather approach to GREED is GOOD!
    Our Government does have a responsibility to the average consumer, however the 10day leeway of cancellation was a good start and still is!
    But it would be ignorant to suggest that ASIC does not have enough Powers to prosecute Companies who deliberately Flaunt the Consumer Protection Laws in place! Often investigations cease due to their inability to Prosecute or Fine them!
    ASIC should be given the power to De-Register them for deliberate deception....full stop!
    MICK...whilst your views are shared by many....you need to keep ur perspective....it is BOTH Parties....not just the liberals.....that are rigging the system to suit their party interests above and beyond the peoples! They are both corrupted by powerful influence to adhere to Policy created by the invisible Caucus on both sides!
    Remember...it was during a recession in the 90's that Labor gave Liberals the needed authority to RAID the COOKIE JAR of preserved tax for the baby boomers Pensions! One can argue they created work....or built a nice new Parliament for themselves with our pension money....but one also needs to remember that this is the reason why they are screaming poor now and say they cannot afford to pay all the Baby Boomers their pension!!!!
    It was a two Party Tag Team that robbed the kitty....not just one!!!
    When a Party Puppet stand for election....he/she has sold their Vote in Parliament to their Party....and that is BEFORE they are elected!!!! Sounds like corruption to me!!!
    But worse still is the ignorance of the masses who still vote for Puppets!!!!
    Time to wise up.....if you want a different outcome....first YOU need to change what you are doing!
    Whilst totally disagreeing with Abbot & his Cronies....they are just Puppets.....doing what they are told!
    Should we expect less from someone who has sold his voting rights to a Party.....not to mention his Soul!
    The other side is no different...can be just as corrupt for exactly the same reasons....people need to understand that the Parties are playing tag team.....and they are not being represented at all!
    By the way...for the ignorant or propaganda brainwashed....the only difference in structure between a Union and a Party....is the Name!!! Both adhere to similar structures....both have an invisible caucus....both collect membership fees and or donations....SO why is a Union the enemy of ALL Politicians??? Because combining the voice of all workers gives the Union a Powerful Voice....Political Parties do not like any Union to become as powerful or even more powerful than the Party!!! Getting rid of unions and union membership has been a Political goal since the end of the Second World War.....it simply described by the Golden Rule of Conquering......By Dividing your enemy, thus you can Conquer them!
    So remember...the objective is to divide Public Opinion as much as possible....set the non-unionist against the unionist....to Conquer!
    Yet it is the Party above all others who refuses to listen to the people! Whilst the union was created to protect those who cannot protect themselves, from ruthless employers that continually want to erode the hard fought for wage justice!
    The parties quickly publicise any corrupt individuals within a union by blaming the whole Union...rather than the individual!
    But when it is a Party member....a quick resignation is all that is required!!! Double Standards....me thinks!!!
    Perspective on the above....no system is beyond corruption....all you need is a human willing to bend the rules!!!
    Most Companies try to do the right thing....it is always individuals within that become corrupt.....sometimes they all form their own Party within a Corporation....but it still only takes individuals prepared to bend/break the rules....WHY???
    Pure Greed for Power & Money.....nothing less!!!
    Good luck with voting for the Party Puppets next election and expecting any change!!!
    For change to happen....YOU need to change HOW you vote!!!
    dougie
    8th Apr 2015
    7:12am
    I tell every telephone caller that I am a 90 year old pensioner and do not understand what they want. When Telstra calls and wants to update or whatever and ask me to identify myself, I tell them "You called me, so I must be who you say and how do I know that you are from Telstra?" If it is a knock at the door, I leave the security locked and say "Not interested " and close the door. All problems fixed.
    particolor
    8th Apr 2015
    6:04pm
    If Your still there in 5 minutes I'm letting the Dog Out !! :-)
    Reeper
    8th Apr 2015
    12:22pm
    I don't by anything of a financial nature from door-to-door or those abysmal TV adverts. If I need insurance I first check with my current company and then do a couple of clicks on my pc for alternatives. It is only recently that the 'fabulous' TV ads for funeral insurance were found possibly to pay out less than premiums paid.... Research, research, research is the only way to buy insurance and probably anything concerning finances
    Justsane
    9th Apr 2015
    3:20am
    When I was 16, an insurance salesman came around to our house and sold me a life insurance policy which was to mature when I turned 45. I remember asking him how much I would get when the policy matured. He told me what the "sum assured" was, which was the total of the premiums paid, but I sort of assumed that after 29 years, I would get a bit more than what I paid in. When I turned 45, guess how much I got? I received the "sum assured", no more. The bastards had invested my money for nearly 30 years and had kept all the interest for themselves. Shrewd financial management, eh? Yes, of my funds for their gain. This insurance company is still operating in Australia.
    particolor
    9th Apr 2015
    4:44am
    "OOW I know"...( Sybil..Falty Towers)
    Wstaton
    9th Apr 2015
    7:37am
    Before we down all insurance we should put this into perspective. Life insurance is just that. If you paid the first payment you died the next month (car accident or something) then your inheritors would get the whole sum assured. The insurance company is taking the risk that you won't.
    Justsane
    9th Apr 2015
    6:12pm
    Wstaton, You are right, of course, and you have made me feel better about it. But still, the probability of dying between 16 & 45, particularly for a female, is just about zilch, and the insurance companies know that.
    Wstaton
    9th Apr 2015
    6:52pm
    Yes Justane, But think of all those who do die early and have not paid in the amount of payments that would cover the amount of the sum insured. That's where the coverage of all contributors come into play to cover the overall risk. And after all the insurers have to make some sort of profit as well.

    I am not in the insurance business and never have been but this is the way I see it. The thing this article is about is unscrupulous insurers rorting the business.
    Justsane
    9th Apr 2015
    10:02pm
    Using a table of pensions paid between 1963 and 1992 purely as an estimate of inflation over this period, inflation increased by over 1200% (12 times) during this time. Some sort of profit for them!
    Radish
    9th Apr 2015
    12:43pm
    I do no business with door to door salesmen and have nothing to do with "cold calling" over the phone either.

    .
    I don't care who it is. How do I know these people are who they say they are when they ring
    particolor
    9th Apr 2015
    2:13pm
    "Uganda Calling !"
    geomac
    10th Apr 2015
    10:06pm
    I have one of these signs on my door.
    Stop salespeople knocking on your door
    You can get a 'Do not knock' sticker to put on your door. This warns sales people that they are breaking the law if they knock on your door. To order copies of the 'Do not knock' sticker in quantities up to 50, download Consumer Affairs Victoria's General publications order form and lodge the form by email or post.
    I got mine from a neighbour and I believe other states have similar.

    https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/consumer-complaints/door-to-door-sales

    If I need something I can shop locally or go online. I do not need someone to urge me to buy something that I never considered I needed.
    particolor
    10th Apr 2015
    10:15pm
    Some of My neighbours dint want theirs they got in the Post and I have them on My Door !! 4 of them ! :-) Works Too ! :-)


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