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Former AIA insurance agent jailed for taking S$117,500 in monthly premiums from his client

Former AIA insurance agent jailed for taking S$117,500 in monthly premiums from his client

File photo of a S$1,000 note. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: For more than two years, an insurance agent took his client's monthly premiums totalling S$117,500, while the company cancelled the victim's policy.

AIA Singapore stopped receiving the victim's premiums in August 2016 and cancelled his life insurance policy a few months later, while the victim continued to pay "premiums" for a non-existent plan for two years.

The rogue agent, 37-year-old Edwin Tan Hock Eng, was jailed for 15 months on Thursday (Dec 3).

Tan pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust by dishonestly misappropriating the victim's cash, with another two similar charges taken into consideration.

The court heard that the victim met Tan in 2014 and purchased a life insurance policy for himself from AIA Singapore through Tan.

As part of the life insurance policy, the victim had to pay a premium of S$4,352.18 on a monthly basis for 10 years until 2024.

The policy provided protection in the event of death, up to the age of 100, and waivers the premium upon permanent disability of the victim.

Had the monthly payments been made for 10 years, the insured amount would be about S$589,000, and the victim would have been guaranteed a payout of about S$13,000 per annum from the 10th year onwards. The guaranteed maturity value was about S$1.5 million when the victim reached 100 years old.

From August 2014 and October 2018, the victim gave his monthly premiums to Tan, who was his insurance agent and entrusted to forward them to AIA Singapore.

However, after almost two years of handing over the victim's premiums to AIA, Tan began pocketing the cash.

After a grace period, the insurance firm cancelled the victim's policy on Oct 30, 2016. Unaware of this, the victim had continued to pay Tan his monthly premiums for about two years after his policy had been cancelled.

The victim found out from AIA in January 2019 that they had not been receiving his monthly premiums, beginning from August 2016.

The victim lodged a police report soon after and confronted Tan, who agreed to repay the victim. In total, Tan made restitution of S$211,952, which is the total amount of premiums paid by the victim from August 2014 to October 2018, including the premiums that had been rightfully given to AIA.

In a statement on Saturday, AIA said Tan had not been with the company since June 2019, adding it had a "zero tolerance policy for any inappropriate conduct".

For criminal breach of trust as an insurance agent, Tan could either have been jailed for life, or jailed for up to 20 years and fined.

Source: CNA/ll(rw)

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