Here is an online insurance purchase experience shared by one of my blog reader Vino Varghese. He was looking to purchase ICICI Prudential Life Insurance’s iProtect term policy after comparing multiple such online term insurance products. Though he had a bad experience in this case, I am sure his say has something for all of us to be aware of. Do read through this piece of write up by Vino, which was posted as a comment on my ICICI’s iProtect product review.
I was looking for a term plan and decided to go with ICICI Prulife’s iprotect plan since the premium offer was competitive and could be done online. The nightmare started after paid premium on 01-Nov-10. The company promises about a doorstep document pickup. I was not contacted by anyone for about a week and I called up customer care centre. I was adviced to provide Income proof, ID proof etc. They wanted me to email it to buyonline[@]iciciprulife[.]com When I tried sending, it all bounced back. I called up CCC again and was adviced to walkin to a branch and submit docs. I did the same at ICICI pruLife Thrissur, collected my medical checkup forms, compl eted medical checkups as prescribed by the company.
I called up CCC was told that I was an “Elite Customer” and to be “rest assured as all documentation has been fulfilled”. I was also told that the underwriting could be completed in 3 to 6 working days and policy shall be issued ASAP. But, after waiting for one month, I received letter form their underwriting department asking for more documents like Form 16, bank statement PAN card copy etc. If I had known these documents were required, I could have given them on those on the day I walked into their branch in Thrissur. This time, I walked up to ICICI Pru Life in Edappally, Kochi and submitted all docs and ensured that nothing was pending from my end. This happened on 11-Dec-10.
The worst part of story happens now: A week later I get a call from some number in Pune. He introduces that he is Anshuman Mishra from ICICI PruLife, cites my application ref: no and requests for submission of Form 16 and ID proof. He started the conversation in Hindi. I requested for communication in English as I had challenges in speaking good Hindi. All he said was “pending document bhejiyega”, “pending document bhejiyega” and banged the phone. I called up CC and explained what had happened. I was reassured that all documentation has been completed and policy was pending with the underwriting team.
In another 5 days, I got a call from ICICI PruLife again asking me to send my Form 16 and ID proof to buyonline[@]iciciprulife[.]com and another personal address on ymail[.]com. I did not want t do that and enquired with CCC again and got the same answer. Finally on 30-Dec-10 I come to know through the online tracking system that the policy has been withdrawn and no explanation was provided. I called up CCC and had to hear from that they donot have access to why the policy is withdrawn. She also added that the company may send some “hard copy letter citing the reason” for withdrawal. Until this time, I have not received any letter.
I found an utter lack of coordination and professionalism in the way they dealt with the application. Looks like their departments just toss documents over the wall and never talk to each other. I have been following up with the company to know the reason for withdrawal and they keep extending deadlines committed. All this and the delay of 2 months make me to say, pls opt for some term cover other than ICICI Prudentials product. Or else, be prepared to gift your money to ICICI for 2 months and face the shame of the money being tossed back to you; without any apology or explanation. I believe that there could be a minimum of 1000 similar cases happening at the same time and that gives the opportunity to ICICI to keep an amount equivalent to 1000 annual premium units (roughly INR 80 lakh) under posession without having to pay up any penalty.
If you are aware of ways to take this issue to get proper justice for Vino, do share your thoughts. I am sure the collective awareness on such pointers would be highly beneficial for each of us. Now that the online insurance selling has become more prominent, do share your experience of buying insurance online from any of the insurance provider.