November 15th, 2006


How user-friendly my insurance company is

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 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....


More about babudom, clerical staff, inefficiency, and giving Citizen D the runaround


Went to Vijaya Bank, J P Nagar III Phase branch, today. My fixed deposit matures on the 6th of December, and the reminder letter states that it must be renewed within 14 days, or unspecified dire consequences will result. It also told me that I had better come earlier than the expiry period.

Anyway, we will be out of town at the time, so  I went to get it renewed.

"Madam, you have to come only at the time of renewal."

"I will be out of town, and won't be back within the 14 days."

"Where are you going Madam?"

"What business is that of yours?" (no, I didn't ask that, I thought that to myself, and said, "Abroad.:"

The response took my breath away.

"Madam, send a relative to do this."

"I am sorry, we have no relatives here."

(disbelievingly)" NObody? Not at all?"


"Madam  you send somebody...some neighbour or servant...."

HEYYY! I don't want to take such obligations from any neighbour, however close s/he may be to me. And I definitely will NOT send any servant, assuming I had one who is capable of renewing a fixed deposit for me.

"I am sorry, I can't do that."

At this, the lady made me write, "Please renew the FD for a period of one year" on the reminder letter, and threw (yes, threw) it on to her desk, and said, off-handedly, "It will be done." ....If it can be done that easily, why put me through my paces up to now?

Guess who will be going to the bank again around the first week of December to make sure that my reminder letter has not been lost?

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