Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It happens (only) in India!

My mobike insurance was expiring in a day or two and as I didn’t get any word from the insurance company, I decided to call them. I called Royal Sundaram’s office and when I got connected to somebody at the other end after dialing the number for 10 times, I as told that they stopped insuring two wheelers. I can approach any other insurance to renew the policy. I also tried to get an explanation from them in vain.

I thought of ICICI then. Anyway icici has a general insurance wing and also the payment of the premiums would be easier through net banking. I don’t have to make calls to them every year to get it renewed et al. Thinking this I went to ICICI Lombard’s website, just to check the policy details and the premiums. To my surprise I found that there is way to buy insurance policies online. Wow. That’s fantastic. I don’t have to even move out of my office desk to get an insurance policy and pay for it. And also I could renew any existing policies. I was so happy and also proud about being a part of ICICI.

I decided to buy the policy online. Clicked on ‘two wheeler insurance’, went through the details, and clicked on ‘buy now’. A proposal form got downloaded and I filled it. The form was very user friendly and all the adequate details were provided also the vehicle lists and their prices. Only thing I noticed at the time was the time, which it took to load the forms. It was a bit slow but manageable. I went through the process, which had a registration form and three pages of proposal form. The last page was to select the payment option. To my surprise, ICICI bank direct debit option was not there in the payment option for me to select. I went through the list again and again to make sure that I haven’t missed it. But then I just couldn’t find it. There were of course options to pay with icici credit card and also using icici corporate web login. But no direct payment through savings account. There is no way for me to pay ICICI Lombard through my ICICI savings bank account? I decided to know the reason. On the right side bar was this icon, which said live chat support. Oh ok. Not bad. There is real time support. I dot have to send them a mail and wait till they reply. I clicked on that and it took 5 minutes for the operator to come online. I started telling him the problem

I: I was trying to pay for my policy online and…Bang came the reply
ICICI: Sir, there are three ways of payment…blah blah and blah’.I interrupted him
I: Please dont cut and paste these help messages and please listen to my question first and answer. Why there is no icici direct debit payment.
ICICI: Its there sir. You have to select the direct debit payment mode…..blah blah and blah
I: Have you ever seen the page which asks us to select the payment mode?
ICICI: Sir, you could even pay using credit card.
I: Did you get my question that is if there is any way for me to pay using icici direct debit and if yes, how?This time I think he got some light to his head and asked me to wait.After two minutes, he replied
ICICI: Sir, the icici direct debit facility has been taken off from the payment options coz of some technical reasons and so you can use any other option to do the payment.

I got a little disappointed by this, but as a software person I’m, I could understand the ‘technical reasons’ behind something withdrawn temporarily. I decided to use the ‘pay by cheque’ option then. I was not having a cheque book at the moment, and as I had to enter the cheque number and other details, I thought of doing it the next day. And the next was the last day of my insurance.

The next day I had my cheque book ready and I once again logged in to ICICI Lombard, and clicked on the ‘buy now’ link, it said the form is loading. But it never did. I called the tele support number to find out what’s wrong. The voice at the other end asked me to send an email to the concerned person regarding the problem I’m facing. The person who talked to me could very well do it. But he wanted me to do it. Here my requirement was to the insurance renewed, not to send email to icici saying their website is not loading forms. I told him that. Then he said I could go to their office and get it done manually (?). even though I got irritated I asked him where is his office. He gave me two addresses and I took one as it was close by to my office. I went there in the lunch hour and found the office closed. I asked the security there about the closure. He said the office has been shifted to another place and I had to go all the way there. I told him about the stuff I went through and also about the tele-support person giving me this address. Then his reply was ‘anything of this kind can happen in India. No point complaining’.

I agree to it fully.

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