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Seniors Charge Aetna Agents With Deceptive Sales Tactics

By Cynthia A. Torres

Aetna life insurance salesmen who attempted to sell insurance to two seniors this week may have used misleading sales practices.

George J. Boas '77 and Edward D. Lamperti '77 said yesterday Aetna representatives telephoned them and asked if they knew about financial "options" available to seniors upon graduation.

"There was real misrepresentation by these officials," Lamperti said. "The caller did not make it clear who he was or that he was soliciting for life insurance," he added.

Boas described the representatives, who later visited him at his request, as "mysterious." She gave the impression she was "somehow connected with Harvard," Boas said.

"She wouldn't have told me she was from Aetna had I not asked her," Boas said. "She was very forceful and wanted to get the policy closed the same day as she presented it," he added.

Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, yesterday warned seniors to use caution when solicited by insurance company representatives.

"This is the time of year when seniors will be solicited by companies," he said. "They should be careful not to sign any policies. Some require substantial premiums right away which aren't noted in the contract."

Epps said the method companies use to obtain students' names, which he refused to describe, is "usually unethical."

Hugh J. French, Aetna sales representative for New England, said yesterday Aetna first solicits students by telephone. Representatives meet with students "only if the student is agreeable to it," he said. French said he was unaware of the use of any pressure tactics on students by Aetna representatives.

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