What could have been a simple online renewal process of a two-wheeler insurance policy becomes an unnecessary ordeal
Why do some of the top names in Indian industry behave so hopelessly when it comes to customer service? This has been a question that has been dogging customers for years now.
Let me relate my experience with a ‘reputed’ insurance company. Many times, it so happens that we are forced an insurance company upon us, especially when we purchase a vehicle; in my case, Mahindra two-wheelers’ dealer picked Bajaj Allianz for me.
Ever since, I had been paying the policy premium religiously, and on time. This year too, I got the first intimation by email from Bajaj Allianz on 20 October 2015, with an amount of Rs910.00. Immediately, I clicked on the link given in that mail, saying, “renew online”. The existing policy was to expire on 19 November 2015.
I was taken to the following page:
After filling in the required details, when I clicked on “Proceed to Renewal”, I got an error message: Please enter the following details - : Please enter the correct policy number”.
I checked again if I had committed a typo. Tried again. The same message. This must have happened two-three times, with the same result.
Maybe their site was not behaving that day. Tried the next day, and the day after that. I then I sent them a mail on 24 October 2015. No reply.
I received another intimation mail on 11 November 2015. Again, I tried the same steps, same result: Error.
Then I visited the next link in the email, under “Other payment options”. I clicked on the link to their website: www.general.bajajallianz.com.
This is what I got: “Server not found”!
Anyway, I got busy with other things (I cannot stay with one issue for hours together, right?). On 15 November 2015, I received another intimation mail, all with the same results.
Again, I sent an email on 14 November 2015 to “[email protected]
”, as given in their intimation email, it bounced back like a bad cheque.
I was worried, what would happen if my policy lapsed. More than the money part of it, it was the harassment of cops that was more worrying.
At first, I tweeted to @BajajAllianz. No reply. Then I posted on their Facebook page. No response.
Again, I posted with a few more details on 15 November 2015. The next day I got a stock reply: “Hi Shrikant. Sorry for the inconvenience caused and thank you for bringing this to our notice. We are looking in to the same and will get back to you with a resolution at the earliest. We thank you for your patience.” What patience, dammit, I have been trying to renew my policy well in advance, but could not do so due to their faults.
Finally, I decided to commute to the local office of the insurance company. When I went there, I was met with a guy who calculated my premium, which came to Rs913. (According to the email intimation, I was supposed to pay Rs910). Then he looked at something and then said it would be Rs1,057.
I protested and then he called up someone. That person said it was Rs1,057. I asked him why the difference, he said, “Loading charges”. What loading charges? I refused to pay.
Then I walked down to a cyber cafe in the same building, took a printout of the intimation email from Bajaj Allianz and insisted that this is the amount I will pay. The person there immediately got on the phone again to consult someone. Then, he took a snap of the mail printout and sent it to someone, A lot of discussions took place between them, and finally they agreed to accept a premium of Rs914. I gave him Rs915. He did not have the change of Re1 to give me back. Theek hai! After all, all retail stores here do the same.
Incidentally, on 23 October 2015, I also tried to get in touch via online chat. Waited and waited and waited, no one responded.
On 19th November, it seems @BajajAllianz did respond to my tweets, but unfortunately I missed it. Not that it would have made any difference because it was again a meaningless stock reply, stating, “We'll be reaching out to you on priority to rectify the renewal issue that you're facing. Thanks for your patience.”
At the end of it, what could have been a simple, online renewal process for a two-wheeler insurance policy became an unnecessary ordeal, thanks to Bajaj Allianz.
(Shrikant N Shenoy
has been a journalist since 1980, having worked in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Dubai. He launched a news portal and an online Konkani language channel from Manipal, Udupi, but ran out of money. In 2011, he successfully launched an English newspaper with five editions simultaneously on a shoe-string budget. He tweets as @udupinet.)