THE LEADING pink publication The Econmic Times says that online insurance is cheaper and one can save on commissions. In its article, “E-buying insurance,” Outlook Money extols the ease and convenience that online insurance companies offer. Indian Express, in its weekly finance column published on Mondays, says approximately the same things.
In the first instance, I bought a car insurance policy from HDFC Ergo. A soft copy of the policy was delivered by e-mail quickly, which was correct. They would not, however, send me a printed copy, which was required for traffic police inspections. When they did, they changed the model of the car. It was after much difficulty that the mistake was rectified.
In the second instance, I bought an insurance policy from the website policybazar. Again, they would not deliver the policy. It was after repeated reminders, making a complaint to their CEO, that the policy was delivered after more than 2 months. However, I was surprised to find that in the hard copy delivered by National Insurance Company, the vehicle number was changed even though it was correctly written on the cover note. Such mistakes – and a customer may not check the documents thoroughly – will result in insurance companies denying claims if and when they arise.
These instances make rubbish the articles published in newspapers that e-buying insurance is useful. Maybe the companies make these mistakes deliberately so as to avoid claims that may arise later on.
Surprisingly, none of the papers mentioned above cared to publish a clarification on their ill-researched articles. People who read such articles should take them with a pinch of salt so as not to face problems later on. As it is, there is a 70% chance that mistakes will be made in online insurance policies, either deliberate or out of incompetence.
Such articles tend to misguide customers to buy policies online. At least, till such time that customer care systems are streamlined online purchase should not be encouraged. As things stand, once payment is made online, the companies (neither the broker like policybazaar nor the insurance company) just do not bother. E-mails go unanswered and their call centre asks your complete bio-data before saying that the mistake cannot be committed by them. Be careful of online channels. They are designed, I think, to avoid claims by companies.
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