A top executive at Shanghai’s biggest insurance agency is thought to have fled to Canada with 500 million yuan ($81.8 million).
Chen Yi worked as general manager at Shanghai Fanxin Insurance Agency, which was established in 2007. The company has been selling life insurance since 2010. Last year, it sold new premiums worth in excess of 480 million yuan, a 200 percent rise from the previous year.
Shanghai police began investigating the agency on Thursday for illegal sales practices, such as discounting. The agency was fined 50,000 yuan ($8,180) in March after a sales representative misled customers.
Previous media reports that Chen has absconded with that much money have not been officially confirmed, according to state mouthpiece People’s Daily. However, a staff member told Sina News that Chen had gone overseas a while ago and they did not know when she would be back.
During a speech in Shanghai last November, Chen Yi emphasized the company’s role, saying it acts as a “bridge” between customers and insurers. “The value of our insurance agency is to save time, energy, and money for customers,” she added. “… Respecting customers, staff, mutual benefits, and gaining each other’s trust–this is the basic principle at the heart of Fanxin’s development.”
The webpage showing the speech with Chen’s photograph has since been removed from the company’s website.
Beijing Business Today reported that the agency has been requesting high commission fees and using them to rapidly expand the business by posing as new clients and buying more premiums.
Translation by Lu Chen.