The insurance agents association warned the finance ministry and financial services regulator in 2002 about the extremely high charges DSB bank was attaching to its policies, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.
At the time, charges of between 70% and 80% of premiums were ‘the rule rather than the exception’, the paper says.
DSB is on the verge of bankruptcy after a campaign by angry customers about high mortgages and insurance premiums led to a run on the bank.
But despite being warned, the then finance minister Gerrit Zalm and the AFM took no action, the paper claims.
Zalm joined the bank in 2007 as economic advisor and was then promoted to CFO. He left at the end of last year to take over at ABN Amro.
‘Even though legally it is not wrong to levy such high charges, it was seen as morally wrong. Zalm has an interesting role in all that,’ one source told the paper.
The finance ministry said in a reaction that new rules for insurance agents were introduced in 2006. The rules covering the sale of life insurance policies were tightened up in 2008 and will be further tightened next year, the spokesman said.
On Monday, Zalm issued a personal statement saying he believed he had brought about improvements in policy.
The Telegraaf also claims that Frank de Grave, another former minister who succeeded Zalm at DSB was effectively sacked by DSB owner Dirk Scheringa after asking too many ‘difficult questions’ about the bank’s finances.
The paper says De Grave was shocked to see how much money had been creamed off to fund Scheringa’s sport and art collecting hobbies. He left DSB after just two months and briefed the central bank fully about his findings, the paper says.
A third former minister and Liberal party stalwart, Robin Linschoten, joined the DSB board as head of the bank’s risk management department in July. He was already on the bank’s supervisory board. The Telegraaf says the central bank had pressured Linschoten into accepting the job to try to salvage what could be saved.