United India Insurance has launched M-Power so that you can pay your premium by mobile easily. But its technology is so poor that renewal of mediclaim information may not reach the TPA for as much as two months. Also, cashless claim will not be approved during this time. Ease in hospitalisation intimation using SMS is the need, not mobile premium payment
United India Insurance Company (UIIC) was the winner of CNBC TV18 Best General Insurance Provider–Public Sector award declared earlier this week. Maybe it is an outstanding company but customers may have a different view. United India has just launched ‘M-Power’—a mobile application that can be used by customers to pay their premiums using a mobile phone. But, ‘M-power’ is only for raking in premium. There are two major flaws in UIIC’s processes which need to be addressed with simple technology.
One, hospitalisation intimation to Third Party Administrator (TPA). United India has set an unrealistic deadline of 24 hours for this. Even this can be made easier for the policyholder if he or she is allowed to intimate the TPA with an SMS; the TPA can acknowledge it with a return SMS and/or a phone call.
Two, United India is possibly living in the era of a horse-driven carriage. It may take two months for information about policy renewal to be communicated from the branch office to the TPA. This has come out in a Right to Information (RTI) reply to Dr Anshu Agrawal. It means that the cashless feature is denied to customer during this period even when policy is renewed. UIIC can easily get “cheque credited” data from a bank electronically and transfer policy data electronically to the TPA. UIIC Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) told the Information Commissioner that the TPA visits the branch office once a week to get information on mediclaim policies in-force. According to Dr Agrawal, “In an era of net-banking and e-mails, UIIC is living in medieval era.”
Of course, it is using mobile technology. But only to collect its premium income, where it has suddenly become tech-savvy.
In today’s technology-driven world, how does United India justify a time gap of one to two months for policy renewal information to reach from branch office to the TPA? The company selectively develops mobile technology for premium collection, but the TPA still visits branch office on a weekly basis when customer data could easily be transmitted electronically.
A delay of two to two months to give renewal information to the TPA and/or TPAs not updating their systems with renewal information leads to denial of cashless approval under an inexplicable excuse that the customer has not renewed the policy even though the insurer has cashed the premium payment cheque one to two months back—now via mobile. This is nothing less than short-changing the customer. What’s more disturbing is that this can even impact the reimbursement claim.
At the launch of ‘M-Power’, media reports quotes G Srinivasan, CMD, UIIC, saying “This is very aptly called M-Power; empowering customers to make their premium payments through mobile phone. I think in the next two years, at least 5% to 7% of our customers will use this platform to pay their premiums.” When asked if they would also look into paying claims through this mode, he said, “That will be the next step”.
What it means is that UIIC is more interested in making it easy for itself to collect premium; ease of hospitalisation intimation and filing of claims does not seem to be the priority. After all, paying claims cannot be as welcome as collecting premium. Many times TPAs play dumb about getting hospitalisation intimation by email or say that the fax message was illegible. TPAs also keep you on hold forever or may not be available 24x7, as they promise.
Dr Anshu Agrawal had a sweet victory in June 2012 when Central Information Commission (CIC) took the liberty of looking at the issue in the larger public interest of the insurance policyholders and not just confined to the UIIC Bareilly office, about which he had complained. The CIC recommended to the chairman and managing director of United India to give directions to all branch managers to put up on the company's website the following information by 16 August 2012: Mediclaim policy number (no names are required to be given), policy date of issue, date of transfer of the said policy to the TPA.
Stay tuned for the second part of the article which you will be interested to know the latest update on the case. Did United India really comply with CIC order? Where do they stand with respect to Comprehensive Online Real-Time Environment (CORE) software? What are the proposed steps to streamline the process of getting cheque credit information from bank to insurer and then passed to TPA?
Protesting passengers allegedly entered the cockpit of the aircraft after having waited in the plane for over four hours to go to Kochi and then the pilot pressed hijack button
Thiruvananthapuram: High drama unfolded at the city airport on Friday when the pilot of an Abu Dhabi-Kochi Air India flight pressed the hijack button in panic after passengers created a ruckus in the cockpit following diversion of the plane to Thiruvananthapuram, reports PTI.
According to airport officials, protesting passengers allegedly entered the cockpit of the aircraft after having waited in the plane for over four hours to go to Kochi.
The pilot then pressed the hijack button, they said.
Following the message, police and other security personnel surrounded the aircraft which was parked at the airport.
The plane was diverted to Thiruvananthapuram due to bad weather, the officials said.
Passengers refused to deboard the aircraft despite repeated requests by the airlines.
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered a probe into the incident, official sources said in New Delhi.
Premjit, one of the passengers, said the flight was supposed to land at Kochi at 3:30am but due to fog at the airport, the plane, which had already been delayed from Abu Dhabi, landed at Thiruvananthapuram at 6:30am.
Nothing was done to take the passengers to Kochi and they were told that the plane had to wait at the Thiruvananthapuram airport for refuelling, he said.
"The passengers kept waiting," he said.
Sources said police was unlikely to register case against passengers and felt a humane approach should be taken.
Police felt the passengers were upset because they had to wait for a long time and there was no security issue, the sources said.
They said another pilot had been sent to the aircraft and "there is no emergency of hijack as claimed by the previous pilot".
As per rules, pilots can press three separate transponder codes for different emergencies. One code is pressed in case of "unlawful interference" in the operation of the aircraft which in effect means hijack.
The second code is pressed in case of loss of communication between the aircraft and the authorities on the ground while the third code is pressed for a situation of emergency on board.
Deccan Chargers have challenged the Bombay High Court order refusing to set aside a status quo order passed by an arbitrator on cessation of its membership in the IPL
New Delhi: Cash-strapped Deccan Chargers on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the team's termination from the Indian Premier League (IPL) by the India's cricket governing body -- Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), reports PTI.
The Deccan Chargers have challenged the Bombay High Court order refusing to set aside a status quo order passed by an arbitrator on cessation of its membership in the league.
The appeal against the High Court order was mentioned by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi before a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, which said it would hear the matter later in the day.