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  Consumers face key issues

Consumers face key issues

| P. RAVI K. RAO
Published : Oct 18, 2016, 6:38 am IST
Updated : Oct 18, 2016, 6:38 am IST

Despite technology, consumers may feel need to contact the insurer directly.

Despite technology, consumers may feel need to contact the insurer directly.

The digital era is redefining the way we connect with people. Today, consumers expect a friendly and personalised approach in every aspect of life and at a time as per their convenience. Like other sectors, the insurance sector is also enhancing its services, using technology.

Offerings from financial services, especially life insurance, are slowly shifting from a paper-dominated world to a digital world, thereby enabling users to work independently of time and place. This has given rise to several interactive tools and platforms for servicing the end-users.

Many insurers have developed technology solutions that can significantly improve the customer experience at different stages of a life insurance policy term. While there are many channels that allow customers to make a comparison on the policy or the insurers even before buying a policy, there may be some instances in which one may still directly contact the insurer. There are many issues due to which a customer could feel the necessity of such a direct contact.

One of the first is if you have not received the policy document after paying the first premium and signing the proposal form. It should take an average of two to four weeks to receive the policy bond or hard copy of the policy. If you have not received the policy within this period, check with your insurer where the issue is. It could be the case that the policy has reached a wrong address or has been returned to the company since the courier company could not reach you at the right address. It is important that you have a physical copy of the policy, as proof of your association with the insurer, while filing a claim. Applications have been developed that enable a person to get immediate notification on issuance of policy, when the policy has been sold through an app. And, when the delivery of the policy document is delayed, that notification may come handy.

After receiving a policy document, it is important to review the document and the terms and conditions immediately. In case you find a discrepancy with any of the conditions as explained by your agent or realise that this policy is not adequate to meet the needs, you can return the policy. Insurers provide a free-look period of 15 days (after receiving the policy) during which it can be returned and the premium would be refunded, and no questions are asked.

One of the most common issues that you could face is that of incorrect contact information being printed on the policy document. This could be anything from a misspelled name, address, or an incorrect contact number. Such details are important aspects of the policy document, as they are taken into consideration at the time of making a claim by verifying the details on the policy with your identification/address proofs. While direct contact with the insurer is a normal practice in such cases, the request can be initiated through the online portal and through a mobile-based application in the near future.

If there are queries related to renewal of your policy such as when is the policy due for renewal, what modes of payment can be used etc., information can be sourced by calling customer care or walking in to the nearest branch office. Use of technology has now enabled consumers to know such details through the online portal.

If a unit-linked policy customer wishes to modify the apportionment of the selected funds available in the plan, it can be done through online portal of that particular insurer. Similarly, NAV (net asset value) can be known through the portal or a mobile-based app. If you do not have a login ID for the online portal, you can get in touch with your insurer seeking one. In addition to this, you may also need to make fund value related enquiries or get an account statement.

Since premiums paid against a life insurance policy can help one get tax exemptions, one has to keep premium receipts safely to avail the benefit. Mobile-based customer applications introduced by life insurers can actually make it a paperless process and certificate against the premiums paid can be retrieved from the app. This certainly will offer a hassle-free experience.

Claim settlement is the ultimate moment of truth for insurers. So, they strive to make this process as smooth as possible. Many life insurers have digitalised the process for notifying a claim, be it death claim or maturity, only to ensure a faster settlement. Such initiatives have brought in lot of changes in service delivery, as the beneficiary from the farthest corner of the country can notify his or her claim in few hours. The larger aim is to improve customer experience. Let technology be a game changer! The writer is the head of operations at Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance