The pressures of business can be huge and it can make you do things that bring serious damage to your reputation and credibility.
As you know, Max Life insurance is soon to be merged with HDFC Life insurance, leaving only the latter as the bigger company. I believe as a part of the mandate, Max Life has gone on an offensive to ensure that maximum active premium paying customers are transferred to HDFC Life. Who doesn’t want a fatter pot?
In the past 6 months of this pursuit, the insurance company has made my life difficult. I endured it so far. But this time what it doled out to me is appalling. I am worried as to how many customers might be falling for it.
As for you – beware!
Here’s the story.
In 2009 I took up a term plan from Max Life Insurance through an agent.
Subsequently, online term plan offerings came in from the industry, which comparatively were much cheaper than the offline plan. As with direct plans in mutual funds, the online term plan paid out no commissions and hence the lower premium.
I bought one online term plan too from HDFC Life.
However, I decided to continue with the offline plan. The agent is a friend. Later, as I came to know that she had given up the agency, I too decided to discontinue the ‘expensive’ offline plan from Max Life.
So, 2 years ago when I received a call for renewal, I told them I am dropping the policy. I will be going for the online term plan, which was cheaper.
Now, in good common sense, I asked them if they would just convert my offline policy to online policy and save the hassles for everyone.
The answer was a straight NO. They couldn’t explain why.
I guess they need to do a fresh underwriting for every different product.
I moved on. I just stopped paying the premium. They would send me occasional reminders through SMS, automated calls, emails which I would ignore. There was one offer with waiver of reactivation fee. Wow! I didn’t even know they expected that. But never did they offer to convert.
Now, in the past 6 months Max Life has been on a spree to activate its existing inactive customers. As I mentioned before, HDFC Life needs a fatter pot.
Every trick in the book is being used to get past customers to start paying premium again and become ‘active’.
The first nuisance that they are using is “automated calls”. I have received umpteen calls from their Noida call center. The frustrating part is it is automated voice saying something about “if you have any queries or issues about your policy, please do get in touch with us.”
The first time I picked up and cut the call realising it was an automated caller. It rang again, this time I picked up and heard it out thinking that if I do it once, it will be off my back. But NO. I heard it again. But it didn’t stop. I have got this call at least 50 times so far.
Then there are the actual human agents. I have to politely refuse to them but they continue to badger. I wonder if these companies even understand ‘customer’ and ‘care’ before they set up a customer care department.
Let me now bring to you the latest call conversation I had. It is shocking.
“Thank you for being a valued customer for Max Life. Your policy premium is due as on Feb 22, 2017.”
“I am not making the payment. I am discontinuing the policy.”
“Sir, can I know why?”
“I am taking an online term plan.”
“But sir, you can continue with this policy. It is a good policy”
“But it’s expensive than the online plan.”
“Sir, in that case you can change the mode of premium.”
“What do you mean?”
“Sir, you can pay on a monthly basis so the burden of premium will go down.”
“Do you even understand that the total premium is not going to change irrespective of how I pay?”
“No sir, this is a good policy.”
“I don’t need the policy. Thank you”
I hung up. I just don’t know what to say.
The company’s business objective is fine – to retain most customers. It’s strategy is totally flawed. It reeks of frustration and apathy.
If the company had looked into basic lessons of customer orientation, it would provide for a way to take the offline plan to online mode and reduce the premium. A simple, effective customer focused strategy that would pay bigger dividends and endeared the customer. At least, I would have continued.
Instead, all it offers is the nonsense of ‘change the mode of premium payment’.
I wonder what these 2 companies, when they come together, will wreak on us.
It’s just started.
Between you and me: Have you or anyone you know been harassed by your insurance company? How do you deal with them? Do share with me.