Bajaj Allianz General Insurance‘s customer service is an absolute joke! Their representatives are not at all aware of the IRDA rules and regulations, nor are they responsive to customers’ complaints.
Whatever you do, please DO NOT buy, renew or transfer your motor insurance online through their website! It’s a nightmare. Everything will be fine until you make the payment. Your troubles start the moment you click on “Pay.” You will be taken to a blank page which won’t ever refresh, and your credit card will be charged for the premium amount without the policy being generated!
What’s more, if you call up their customer service numbers, their representatives will tell you that you can’t transfer your motor insurance online from another insurer, even if your existing policy hasn’t lapsed! Try asking them how come their website offers the very same option, and pat comes the reply: “yes sir, we are aware of it, but it’s actually not permitted!” Now, how can you possibly respond to such a foolish argument??
On being asked why it’s not possible to transfer an existing policy online, they say that it’s because the vehicle needs to be inspected first. This is a complete lie and against IRDA rules, which say that an inspection is necessary only if there is a break in the insurance cover period.
I have a two-wheeler motor insurance policy from ICICI Lombard which expires on January 14, 2009. I decided not to renew my policy with them because they are really fleecing customers with high premiums and add-ons that are not at all required (for example, accident cover for a paid driver! I mean, who keeps a paid driver for a two-wheeler??). But more on that in my review on ICICI Lombard.
So anyway, I decided I had to change my vehicle insurer. After comparing the premiums of both Bajaj Allianz and Reliance General Insurance, I settled for Bajaj Allianz. Both these companies (as well as ICICI Lombard) allow you to transfer your insurance from another insurer online (customer support folks, are you listening??), provided your previous policy hasn’t lapsed.
I entered all the required details in their online form, after which I was shown the premium amount and taken to the payment page. The entire fiasco unfolded once I made the payment. All I got was a blank screen that stared right back at me!
Since I wasn’t sure whether the transaction was successful or not, I immediately called up Bajaj Allianz on 1800-102-5858, provided them the transaction ID (1207927) and asked them to check it up. The guy at the other end said that it takes half an hour for new policies to appear in the system, and that he would check again later and call me back. He also gave me a service request number (31966818). But needless to say, that call never came.
Since the ICICI Bank credit card I used is registered for the “Verified by Visa” program, I still thought that the transaction must have been unsuccessful, since on most websites I am usually asked to provide my bank account password before the payment is made. But two days later when I checked my card statement, I saw to my horror that the amount was charged to my card! Now I was worried. I again called up Bajaj Allianz and explained them the situation. This is when the chap at the other end told me that it’s not possible to transfer an existing policy from another insurer online!
Nevertheless, he again gave me a new service request no. (32022145) for my issue. After some time, another lady called me up and asked me to forward a written complaint with all details and the card statement showing the transaction to email@example.com. I did that, but so far there’s been no response.
Unfortunately, in the two days that it took for the transaction to appear in my card statement, I was so confident that it was a transient error and that the money hadn’t been charged to my card, that I again tried to do the same thing on their website and met with the same result! Very stupid on my part, I know! And this time I used my other HSBC credit card. This time, the transaction ID was 1208482.
So now I’m in double trouble, with Bajaj Allianz taking its own sweet time. God knows whether they’re even looking at the mails I sent?? I’ve sent three mails so far (to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) and not received even an auto-acknowledgement!
So now I checked the IRDA website to know about the grievance redressal mechanism. I found that if the insurer fails to respond to, or doesn’t respond/resolve satisfactorily, customers’ grievances within one month, the customer can send a letter to the regional Insurance Ombudsman with all the details for redressal. What’s more, the Ombudsman is legally bound to provide a judgement on the complaint within three months, and that judgement will be binding on the insurance company. And if the customer is not satisfied with the judgement, they can then approach the regional consumer courts for a fresh verdict.
That apart, I am also thinking of writing to CNN-IBN Citizen Journalist. They called back the last time I wrote to them when I had a problem getting a new LPG connection from Indane.
I’m sure that sooner or later my problem will be resolved satisfactorily. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later, and that it’s Bajaj Allianz who will refund the amount or issue the policy rather than me having to get compensation via the legal route.
UPDATE: Jan 11, 2009
This morning, one lady named Komal called me from the Pune office and apologised for the whole issue. She also promised that the transactions would be reversed by evening, and asked if I’m still interested in taking a policy from them. I said I don’t mind, since their premium was the lowest, but that they should refund the earlier charges before I spend any more money on them. She assured that it would be done, and said that an agent would contact me to take a fresh policy once the charges were reversed.
UPDATE: Jan 16, 2009
Today, one Mr. Vineet (not sure) from Bajaj Allianz called me after reading this review on Mouthshut, and apologized for the whole thing. He assured me that they had taken note of all the failed transactions on my cards and would refund the same immediately. He then called me the next two days too to give me status updates, which I really appreciated, and finally after a few days the amount was refunded. Even after that he called me to confirm the same. Thanks, Mr. Vineet!
Anyway, finally I went to their office here in Koramangala near my house and physically applied for the insurance policy. I got it within a short time, far less than it took at ICICI Lombard and also much cheaper than them.
In view of this, I have revised my rating for them. But I hope they fix the problem with their website!
Thank you Mouthshut, for helping me get my problem fixed soon! This is the second time you have helped me, the first time being when I had an issue with ICICI Direct!