Due to the pressure from insurance sales targets and high commissions, some bank employees and insurance agents are willing to resort to any means or methods to “entice” customers into signing insurance contracts. One of the tactics they use is “Concept swapping” to mislead and manipulate customers into misunderstanding and signing insurance contracts. So, what offences can be committed by employees who engage in these behaviours? Let’s find out through the following article.
1. What is the act of “Concept swapping”?
According to the Vietnamese Great Dictionary, Culture and Information Publishing House in 1999, “swapping is the act of subtly replacing one thing with another to gain benefits or achieve a certain purpose”. “Concept is a form of human thought that helps people understand the general and essential characteristics of objects and phenomena of objective reality. Therefore, “concept swapping” can be understood as the act of replacing one concept with another, causing people to misunderstand objects and phenomena of objective reality to achieve a purpose.
Based on the aforesaid analyses, “concept swapping” in insurance business activities refers to the actions of employees presenting alternative concepts/terms, sometimes even incorrect ones, that deviate from the essence of the transaction, leading customers to confusion or misunderstanding, ultimately resulting in customers signing insurance contracts.
Recently, the cases of bank employees and insurance salespeople intentionally giving wrong advice to customers to sell insurance become a topic that has a lot of people’s attention. Accordingly, when customers come to save money at the bank, instead of guiding and opening a passbook for customers, these employees advise customers to buy a product package linking the bank and the insurance company. There are various reasons why this incident happened, for example, these employees were forced to sell insurance by KPIs, these employees are entitled to commissions from insurance contracts, etc. These employees have consulted for customers that this is an investment savings package with a high-interest rate and comes with a life insurance package. Based on the provided information, customers understand that a life insurance package is a product offered with a savings deposit service. Due to the lack of knowledge regarding banking and insurance, the customer trusted the advice of the employees and agreed to sign the contract. However, when there is a need to withdraw their savings, customers realize that the contract they have signed has completely different from what they were advised they were advised on and contains a lot of unfavourable content concerning the customer. In reality, the money that customers thought was being deposited as savings is instead being used for insurance participation. Customers are obliged to pay regular insurance premiums, and if they terminate the contract or fail to continue paying the premiums, they will lose the entire amount. The period that customers must continue to participate in insurance can last from several years to several decades depending on the terms of the contract.
Therefore, in the aforementioned case, the bank employee intentionally provided false advice, presented information that does not align with the essence of the transaction, and swapped the concept from “participating in insurance” to “high-interest savings” causing customers to misunderstand and sign the contract. This is a violation of the law, affecting the benefits of customers, and can be subject to criminal liability as stipulated by the law.
2. What crime can an employee “swap the concept” to sign an insurance policy with?
According to the current law, employees who intentionally provide false information and engage in “concept swapping” so that customers trust to enter into insurance contracts to gain illicit profits may be prosecuted for criminal liability for the offence of “Obtaining property by fraud” by Article 174 of the Criminal Code 2015, amended and supplemented in 2017 (“the Criminal Code”).
To obtain customer property, these employees have provided false and untrue information to make customers believe it is real and voluntarily hand over the property to the offender. Due to being deceived, the customers agree to sign the insurance contract. Except for other cases prescribed by Article 174 of the Criminal Code, as long as the property obtained is valued at VND 2,000,000 or more, these employees may be prosecuted for criminal liability for the offence of obtaining property by fraud under Article 174 of the Criminal Code specifically as follows:
“Article 174. Obtaining property by fraud
1. A person who uses deception to obtain another person’s property which is assessed at from VND 2,000,000 to under VND 50,000,000 or property assessed at under VND 2,000,000 in any of the following circumstances shall face a penalty of up to 03 years’ community sentence or 06 – 36 months’ imprisonment:
a) The offender has incurred an administrative penalty for the appropriation of property;
b) The offender has an unspent conviction for theft of property or any of the criminal offences specified in Articles 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 175 and 290 hereof;
c) The offence hurts social safety, order and security;
d) The property illegally obtained is the primary means of livelihood of the victim and the victim’s family.
2. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 02 – 07 years imprisonment:
a) The offence is committed by an organized group;
b) The offence is committed professionally;
c) The property obtained is assessed at from VND 50,000,000 to under VND 200,000,000;
d) Dangerous recidivism;
dd) The offence involves abuse of the offender’s position or power or committed in the name of an agency or organization;
e) The offender employs deceitful methods to commit the offence;
3. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 07 – 15 years imprisonment:
a) The property obtained is assessed at from VND 200,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000;
b) The offender takes advantage of a natural disaster or epidemic to commit the offence.
4. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 12 – 20 years’ imprisonment or life imprisonment:
a) The property stolen is ≥ VND 500,000,000;
b) The offender takes advantage of a war or state of emergency to commit the offence.
5. The offender might also be liable to a fine of from VND 10.000.000 to VND 100,000,000, be prohibited from holding certain positions or doing certain works for 01 – 05 years or have all or part of his/her property confiscated”.
Thus, deliberately deceiving customers into signing insurance contracts by swapping concepts can be prosecuted for criminal liability for fraud and appropriation of property. Depending on the severity and nature of the violation, the offender may be sentenced to between six months of imprisonment and life imprisonment. In addition, the offender might also be liable to a fine of from VND 10.000.000 to VND 100,000,000, be prohibited from holding certain positions or doing certain works for 01 – 05 years or have all or part of his/her property confiscated. Therefore, bank employees and insurance employees need to pay special attention to the legal sanctions to strictly comply with the provisions of the law.
Above is the content of the article “What crimes can an employee commit by “swapping the concept” to get clients to sign insurance contracts?” that TNTP sends to readers. If you have any further questions, please contact TNTP for the best support.