Wannabe agents dare a ‘double’ cover for licence

Not every insurance agent aspirant gets a licence. Just about 25 per cent of those who appeared last year for the mandatory test...

Written by Suneeti Ahuja | New Delhi | Published:March 9, 2009 12:19 am

Not every insurance agent aspirant gets a licence. Just about 25 per cent of those who appeared last year for the mandatory test conducted by the Insurance Institute of India manage to clear it. So,many try to find an easy way out — impersonation,i.e. getting someone else to write the exams for them. But thankfully,this is not going unnoticed by the insurance regulator,which has got back to the insurers asking them to scrutinise the applications more carefully. Pointing to the lack of seriousness on their part,the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has noted that there were 5,740 cases of impersonation during the final test conducted by the institute in calendar year 2008.

Of the 25 lakh who appeared for the test last year,only 6.25 lakh cleared it. While the number of impersonators may be less than 1 per cent of the those appearing,the disturbing aspect of the malpractice in a national-level examination has set alarm bells ringing within the regulatory body.

In a letter to insurance companies,a copy of which is with The Indian Express,IRDA chairman Hari Narayan wrote,“A careful scrutiny shows that prima facie the two photographs in Part A and Part B (of the form) do not match in certain cases. This clearly indicates a lack of seriousness or careful scrutiny by the insurance company officer at the time Part A and Part B are filled up.”

To operate as an insurance agent,aspirants have to sit through a compulsory 50-hour training and then clear an exam conducted by the institute to get the licence. The application for examination has two parts: A and B. Part A has details of the application and Part B is used as an admission ticket for the examination.

Both the forms have fixed photographs of the attending candidates that are attested by the insurance company officer. Part A is then separated and sent to the institute,the agency which conducts the examination. Part B,the admission card presented by the applicant at the exam centre and is later attached to the answer sheet by the invigilators and is also received by the institute in course of time.

Before publication of results,the photographs in Part A and in Part B are compared to ensure that the candidate for whom Part A has been filled is the candidate whose admission card has been obtained. The regulator has found mismatch of photographs between form A and B. Figures available with the institute show that 26 lakh people took the exam in 2007 and about 25 lakh in 2008.

When contacted,S J Gidwani,Secretary General of India Institute of Insurance,“Yes,we have found several cases of impersonation during the exams. Although the figure is not even one per cent of the total number of agents that appear for the test,still it is disappointing.” The regulator has written to the CEOs of the company and expressed his appointments over such malpractices,he added.

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