Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Insurance: often a racket

July 31, 2011

Frankly, I must say that I feel insurance in India is often a racket with no accountability. When the premiums are being collected and the papers signed, all is gas and gaiters, but if the consumer suffers a loss and wants to claim insurance, it is incredible how the insurance companies try (usually successfully) to weasel out of the claim settlement.

Even their habit of delaying the settlement and making the consumer run around, results in a scenario where it doesn’t seem worth the trouble and hassle. Very often, the insurance companies quote something from the fine print to deny the claim. Corporate customers, of course, get their claims settled but the ordinary Tom, Dick and Hari…they wind up with a lot of hassle, and sometimes a claim settlement that is much less than the amount contracted for at the time of taking the insurance.

If you lose something worth, say, Rs.20,000, have paid the premiums, yet find that you have to go through intense amounts of paperwork and filing-in-triplicate-at-the-time-of-the-full-moon kind of conditions, and finally find that you are getting some 6K as settlement…. and get that cheque only after repeated reminders and a lapse of several months… wonder if it might not be better to do without insurance altogether.

How user-friendly my insurance company is

November 15, 2006

We have had medical insurance with (yes, I am going to name names) New India Insurance for many years now. We started when KM was working for a company whose headquarters were in Madurai, so we have our policies with NI’s Madurai office. In 7 years, we have never claimed insurance (touch wood!).

This time we found the premium had gone up by about three thousand rupees, so I spoke to someone in the Madurai office, who was both competent and helpful; he told me that it was the particular region which had upped the premium, and if I spoke to the Bangalore office, I might be able to avoid paying the extra payment.

Oh, and the premium had not gone up because of our age, or any other factors to do with us; they arbitrarily have pushed up the premium for EVERYONE it seems.

So I called up the Senior Development Manager whose name and number I was given.

This man was –no other word for it– aghast. “You are both over 50!” he said. “We don’t give medical insurance policies to those over 45.”

WHAT THE??? What is the life expectancy in India now? No medical insurance policies for those over FORTY FIVE…? My father in law lived to 87….goodness knows, we don’t want to, but we might…

I tried a different tack. We had, I told him, carried this policy for many years now, we were old clients of New India. It was only a question of renewal, and hopefully, shifting the insurance from Madurai to Bangalore, where we were based now.

I am QUOTING the words of his response, though maybe not in the exact order in which he said them. Worth remembering is the fact that this guy has just moved to the Bangalore office from the Madurai office!

“Madam! It is only a one-year contract, so every year you are a new customer.(what? I read your “customer is king” campaign myself)  And our Bangalore office is different from our Madurai office, we cannot transfer you from there to here (your company name is new INDIA insurance, sir…) . If you had taken a policy  with us from when you were a child, we might continue. (WHAT??)  But you are only coming now. Now you are already 50. Soon you will say you want an operation or that you have fallen sick. (WOW, beat that for a friendly statement!)  So we won’t entertain these requests. Madam, I suggest you go somewhere else. (Crowning touch!) ”

HelLO Mr Shivaji! Why on EARTH would I take insurance if there is no chance of my falling ill or requiring surgery? What do you think insurance is FOR? And while I agree that insurance policies for the elders is a losing proposition for the insurance companies, and you may have received a directive not to issue them (which itself is SUCH a customer-unfriendly policy), is this any way of talking? And how is New India Bangalore such a different entity from N I Madurai that you cannot transfer old, paying clients?

This guy hasn’t got over the British Raj, or the licence raj….oh, I am so disgusted….

Well, probably we will NOT get a new insurance policy anywhere, so I will cough up the extra 3 thousand and continue my insurance with the Madurai office….at least the senior person there was helpful and far more competent than the guy in Bangalore, and knows us personally, so hopefully, in the event of a claim, we will not be made to run around….



June 11, 2005

Going through the wringer with the Honda City insurance…the local police station won’t take accident complaints, the one that does has a policeman who asks for rs. 500 to register the complaint, then it takes an hour to drive to the service place and another 2 hours to come back by auto through Blr’s beautiful traffic… most of the parts seem to be made of plastic for which only 40% of the insurance cost will be reimbursed….

From yesterday the home phone is dead, and the phone lineman and the building electrician will NOT come at the same time, but will alternately appear and blame each other…feel like burying them along with the phone…

We are lucky that this happens to us only once in a while….

Corruption is bad. Inefficiency is bad. But Bangalore has a combination of both…deadly!


May 2, 2005

Another LJ-er, some time, described the horror story of his friend’s hospitalization in the US…..last week, a friend was diagnosed as having a block in a major artery….the hospital where he had been admitted for his angiogram did not offer him any options, tried to force open-heart surgery on him when angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, would have worked just as well. It was only because I have gone through this scenario myself, for my spouse, that I was able to get him to take a second opinion. The doctor who is noted for angioplasty is at another hospital..which said they would not honour his insurance. We spent an entire day running around trying to find solutions before the matter was simply resolved…by the surgeon telling the administration to accept the insurance policy. Why a doctor should have to interevene in hospital administration is beyond me; why a hospital administration should behave like a government office, is, of course, understandable…..the minute one gets the power of veto over another, there seems to be great pleasure in exercising it. The mindset is never, “Let us see how this can be done”…it is always, “This can’t be done…now you can run around all you want.”….when all the time, the right lever or pressure will ensure that it gets done.

When will we get out of this “babu” mindset?

Well, anyway, the angioplasty is later today. We hope everything goes well.