When Do You Need Your Insurer’s Help?
Life insurance is a long-term contract typically ranging from 5 years to maybe 15-20 years, or even longer, at times. During the course of this long policy tenure, you may need to get in touch with your insurer for various purposes like updating details about significant changes in your life, making a fund switch or any other query on the product. Even though several insurers offer the option of online portals which enable you to view or update your details as and when required, there may be moments when you face a concern/query, and will require direct contact with your insurer.
Common issues a customer could face
On the basis of our experience of over 10 years in the market, here are listed below some of the most common issues faced by customers.
Policy document has not been received: Once you have paid the first premium and signed the proposal form, it should take an average of 2-4 weeks for you to receive the policy bond or hard copy of the policy. In case you have not received the policy within this period, check with your insurer where the issue is. It could be 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 mentioned 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.
Policy does not meet requirement: Once you have received the policy, it is important that you 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/IMD, or realize that this policy may not meet the financial requirement for which it was bought initially, you can return the policy. Insurers provide a free-look period, which is a window of 15 days after receiving the policy, during which it can be returned and the premium would be refunded.
Printing of incorrect contact details: One of the most common issues that you could face is that of wrong 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. One way to ensure that your contact information is printed correctly is to fill in the proposal form yourself, rather than relying on your agent/IMD.
Claims related issues: Since life insurance claims are usually made at a traumatic time in one’s life, all insurers strive to make this process as smooth as possible. However, there may be instances where you face certain problems along the way. This could vary from queries on the claim intimation process, documents required for a claim submission, or the claim amount payable. In case your claim has not been settled within the mentioned timeline, or has been rejected, you could make a complaint to the insurer.
Renewal Queries: Another common query that may arise is those related to renewals. These queries would normally include questions such as when does the policy need to be renewed, what are the modes of payment that can be used, and how much is the next premium going to be? Getting in touch directly with your insurer is the best way to get an accurate answer to all such questions.
Fund Switching: As a customer of a unit-linked plan, you may wish to modify the apportionment of the selected funds available in the plan to safeguard yourself from market volatilities. Most insurers offer online portals which allow you to make fund switches on your own free of cost, and also provide NAV and other fund based information on the website. In case you do not have a login ID for the online portal, you can get in touch with your insurer to provide you one. In addition to this, you may also need to make fund value related inquiries or get an account statement. For all such documents, it is essential that you get in touch with your insurer, as they will be able to provide you with all such details.
What you can do
These days, most companies offer their customers an efficient solution to get in touch with them, in case of any complaint or query. These solutions usually include self help portals, call centers, and official websites. However, in case of further assistance, there are other options that you could choose from.
- Call the toll free number: The fastest way to intimate a grievance with your insurer is by contacting the company via their toll free number. This number would be available on their website, or your policy document. Some insurers provide assistance round the clock for your convenience. You would usually need to keep your policy number handy for reference while calling the call center.
- Use Social Network: Several companies are also providing easy assistance options via social network sites, such as Facebook, Twitter etc. The provision of this option is very accessible, and offers a quicker response.
- Escalate to IRDA or Ombudsman: In case you do not get a satisfactory response from the insurer, you can contact the IRDA Grievance Cell or the Ombudsman through their toll free number or email address.