Do we always have to blame insurance company? Guest author Shalin Tejpal Jain shares his experiences below.
- “The insurance agent mis-communicated to me the product features and is now not responding to my calls.”
- “The insurance company is not addressing my complaints.”
- “The insurance company is not refunding back my premium.”
Aren’t these the common set of woes we hear from the insurance policyholders who say they have been cheated by the insurance companies? For most of us it is a tendency to blame the seller in case any product or service we bought didn’t turn out as it was expected to. The reason why there are a high number of insurance policyholders who’re not happy with their insurance products is because unlike buying other products and services, they do not understand the insurance product before buying it. Quite often it has been noticed that customers do not care to thoroughly go through the insurance plan’s brochure/leaflet before deciding to buy. They blindly believe the insurance agent and in some cases then skim through the brochure/leaflet to portray that they have gone through the product and understood it very well. To add to this, there have been innumerable cases where the customer simply fills in the personal details, signs the insurance application form and asks the insurance agent to fill in the rest of the details. And in certain cases, customers do not even care to fill in the personal details such as name, DOB (Date of Birth), communication address, etc. They simply sign on the application form and ask the insurance agent to fill in all the required details including personal details based on the documents of proof provided by him/her. Keep reading if this sounds anything familiar. SO, WHERE EXACTLY THE PROBLEM LIES? How many insurance policyholders even care to read their policy documents once they buy the insurance cover? Is it justified? And then amidst all this, we blame the insurance company for cheating us. This is not to justify mis-selling but as buyers, isn’t it our duty to ensure that we try and understand all the required details of the insurance product(s) we buy. It’s a familiar sentiment that the terms and conditions in the insurance policy documents are difficult to understand for someone who has no insurance background or any financial services background. But here’s the fact – it does not require any thorough knowledge of insurance domain or financial services to understand insurance products. There have been umpteen number of cases where the grievances are not on account of the typical insurance related terms and conditions mentioned in fine print, but on account of basic insurance cover features including payout of benefits, premium payment frequency, premium amount, type of product, etc. A quick question – Do we require an in-depth knowledge of insurance domain in order to know and understand the above mentioned basic details of an insurance plan? Spending just 15 minutes on our insurance policy document shall help us address any grievances if we think that the product cover we bought is not what we actually intended to buy. And remember, we always have the 15 days free-look option from the date of receipt of policy document to ask for a refund of premium. DID YOU IGNORE THESE WHILE BUYING INSURANCE? Quite often, buyers ignore or don’t care much about the below mentioned three basic stages of buying an insurance cover:
- Understanding features of the insurance product including the benefits, term of the policy, premium amount, etc.
- Duly filling the insurance application form.
- Reading the policy document once an insurance cover is bought.
Now, is it fair to blame the insurance company alone when we ourselves didn’t put in considerable efforts to ensure that we buy the right insurance product that suits our needs? For an easy reference, below given is a checklist that includes a minimum set of things a buyer should verify while buying an insurance product:
|Stage 1: Understanding the Product||Stage 2: Filling the proposal/application form||Stage 3: What all to check once the policy document is received?|
During Stage 3, if you find a discrepancy between what you opted for in the insurance application form (a copy of which is also attached in the policy document) and what has been actually mentioned in the policy document, quickly get in touch with the insurance company and exercise the free-look refund option. You only have 15 days from the date of receipt of policy document to request for a free-look refund. Also ensure to write the correct address of communication in the insurance application form so that the policy document reaches you on time and you can verify it and act accordingly. About the author: Shalin Tejpal Jain is an insurance professional and a blogger. He runs India’s first stand-alone insurance complaints forum, PolicyComplaints.com. On the forum, insurance complaints are addressed by an Insurance Experts Team, representatives of Insurance companies and other members.