The stock market regulator has formed a three-member committee to look into the financial details of Progressive Life Insurance Company Ltd. Customer complaints have been piling up regarding the non-settlement of insurance claims by it.
According to its officials, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has come to know about a large number of customer complaints that the company has not been settling the claims despite the maturity of their insurance policies.
The regulator suspects there might have been some financial irregularities within the life insurer, said a senior BSEC official, adding that stock investors had a bad experience with Fareast Life Insurance as its previous directors embezzled most of the company funds.
Mohammad Rezaul Karim, executive director and spokesman for the BSEC, told The Business Standard, "The inquiry team will review the company's last ten years' financials."
The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (Idra) officials said thousands of insurance policies have matured but the clients did not get any money against their claims.
In recent weeks, the insurance regulator has received over a thousand complaints from Progressive Life customers in this regard.
Md Johir Uddin, company secretary of Progressive Life, is aware of the committee formation. He, however, declined to comment on what has gone wrong within the firm while talking to The Business Standard.
In its 2019 annual report, a statutory auditor informed the users of the company about some non-transparency in the firm's premium income, buying disputed properties, negative cash flow, and huge unpaid claims.
Idra sources, citing the company's latest unaudited report, said that at the end of 2021, over 40% of insurance claims with Progressive Life remained unsettled while the death claims settlement rate was only 30% at the end of last year.
Headed by BSEC Additional Director Mohammad Delowar Hossain, the inquiry panel set up last week will also look into Progressive Life's balance sheets and other elements of its financial statements, management and other expenses, investments, and also if any related party transactions are there before it submits its findings within 30 working days.
Life revenue accounts, petty cash balances, valuation of life fund, contingencies and provisions, and unpaid claims of the company would be reviewed.
The committee, which includes BSEC deputy directors Md Sirajul Islam and Mawdud Momen as members, will also examine all term deposits, investments in land and land development, property plant, and equipment of the company.
In addition, the panel will examine the internal control system of the company and its effectiveness in ensuring operational efficiency, reliable financial reporting, and compliance with laws, regulations and policies.
Incorporated in 2000, Progressive Life Insurance Company Limited was listed on the capital market in 2006.
It has been engaged in all kinds of life insurance businesses whether individual or group, including pension and health.
The life insurer also operates a micro life insurance business under the name of Sujan Bima, Surid Bima, Darussalam Bima, Progressive Deposit Pension Scheme (DPS) and Progressive Islami Bima Prakalpa.
Since 2019, the company has not been calling any general meetings of its shareholders, and over time, its financials have been on a declining trend.
According to the unaudited financial report from January to September 2020, its life revenue account decreased by nearly Tk5 crore and the life insurance fund stood at Tk272 crore.
The life fund dipped below Tk250 crore at the end of 2021, said Idra sources.
Sponsors and directors together held 38.82%, institutions 10.75%, and general investors 50.43% shares of the company, according to the August data of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).
Progressive Life shares with a face value of Tk10 each closed at Tk77.40 on the DSE on Thursday.