ICICI Lombard Charges Exorbitant Insurance Premiums and Lies to Justify It!

All those of you who have or are planning to buy any insurance policy from ICICI Lombard — be very careful! These guys are employing every trick in the book to mint money from unsuspecting customers.

I have a two-wheeler motor insurance policy from ICICI Lombard (number 3005/53282672/00/000) that expires on January 14, 2009. When I got the policy renewal letter this year, I found that the premium had gone up to Rs. 1020 from Rs. 780 last year. Surprising, considering the vehicle hadn’t gotten any newer! And there was no break-up of charges given either.

Luckily, I was able to get the break-up of charges on the ICICI Lombard website. After going through it, I found that they had not only hiked the basic premium, but had also added two optional covers without my permission:

– Personal accident cover for unnamed passenger: Rs. 140
– Legal liability for paid driver: Rs. 25



Of these, it was the second one that really had me stumped! A “legal liability for paid driver” implies that if I’ve hired a driver to drive the vehicle and he meets with an accident while driving it, then the insurance company will take care of compensating him or his family for his injury or loss of life. Now, obviously no sensible person is going to appoint a driver for a bike! So why would any insurance company add this option to a two-wheeler policy! And to top it, there was no way to remove these add-ons either.

So I called up ICICI Lombard customer care at 1800-209-8888 and asked for an explanation. The smart aleck at the other end obviously knew precious little about insurance or IRDA regulations, but that sure didn’t stop him from fibbing his way out of my questions.

I asked him why ICICI had added these optional covers without asking me. To this, he said that IRDA had made these covers mandatory from this year. I said I didn’t believe him. Why would the IRDA make something like paid driver’s insurance cover mandatory?? Surely they were smarter than that! To this, he said he would confirm the same with his senior. He put me on hold to confer with his senior, who apparently was of the same opinion that these add-ons were now mandatory.

I told him I still didn’t believe him. I asked him to give one logical reason why IRDA would pass such a rule. At this point, he suddenly changed track and started muttering something about how “legal liability for paid driver” wasn’t really an insurance cover for a paid driver, but had something to do with third party damage!

Now I was getting really pissed at this guy’s foolish answers. I asked him, what the hell was third-party cover for then? He again mumbled something that didn’t make any sense to me. Finally I got fed up and told him that unless ICICI agreed to remove these add-ons from my policy, I would move to another insurer. He again mumbled the same thing about IRDA having made it mandatory and stuff.

By now, I realised that this guy was either very stupid or he had explicit instructions from his managers to justify any additional charges on customers in any manner possible, never mind whether it made sense or not. I said OK and banged down the phone.

Clearly, this is a ploy by ICICI to make money from unsuspecting customers, as they know very well that many people will just pay up without even bothering to check the break-up of the charges. I never expected that ICICI would stoop to this level to boost their income.



I have made up my mind to move to another insurer, probably Bajaj Allianz. But I don’t want to leave this matter here. I want to let the senior people at ICICI know what lies their customer support people are telling customers.

Future Action:

ICICI Lombard’s website mentions a Ms. Preeti Lochan (Manager, Service Quality) as the second point of contact, if customer support is not able to resolve queries satisfactorily. I have mailed her. Let’s see what she has to say. Hopefully she’s far more sensible than her customer service folks! If not, I’ve wasted some more time…

Update: Jan 27, 2009

Finally I wrote a mail to Ms. Preeti Lochan via ICICI Lombard’s website. I actually thought it didn’t go through, because I got some server error when I submitted the complaint. So I was surprised when she called me.

I appreciated her for having called me and explained the whole situation. She heard me out and apologised for the whole issue, but tried to justify her customer care’s lies saying that they probably didn’t know the rules fully! Well, if that’s the case, then they shouldn’t be sitting there, should they? I didn’t like her justifying their action.

Anyway, she called again after two days and said that I can renew my policy without the add-ons. But by then I had already moved to Bajaj Allianz and I told her that. I also suggested to her that they allow adding/removing add-ons on the website while renewing the policy online. She said she’ll look into it.


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17 Comments

  1. VaseeshVaseesh02-02-2014

    Thanks for the info !!! 🙂
    Nice article.. Saved my time !!!

  2. AshishAshish12-17-2013

    This practice is still on till today in 2013.

    same trick to cheat consumers. i have asked many times following Qs but every time they respond with a pre-drafted template addressing no question…

    1. Under which rule did you by default add a new component in the renewal of policy (insurance of unnammed passenger) which attract Rs.140+taxes) ?

    2. Why did you not put any option to remove the same in the online form?
    “Renewal” means renewal of policy with components in the previous policy and it is illegal & fraudulent act which is cheating the customer.

    2. When it was clearly asked your customer care executive to remove this particular component during the renewal( which was noted by executive) and it was told to me that the difference of premium will be credited to my account, WHY IT HAS NOT YET BEEN DONE AND YOU ARE AKSING FOR MORE TIME OF 10 DAYS?

    3. Which employee of your company took the above request? And who is at fault for all this delay?

    You will be surprised that they sent me a revised policy removing cover for unnammed passenger but increased the basic premium to keep the total same…

  3. Girish PatwardhanGirish Patwardhan11-05-2013

    I saw the saw trick played by ICICI Lombard. So I applied the new policy (don’t renew it) and you wont see the PA cover for unnamed passenger.

  4. Rahul VasanthRahul Vasanth06-14-2013

    Vijay,

    I had the same issue when I received the notice for renewal of my 2-wheeler policy. I called up ICICI Customer Care. They said the “unnamed passenger cover” can be removed if I desire. Looks like your complaint in 2009 has had an effect!

  5. Ashwini Kumar GuptaAshwini Kumar Gupta04-25-2012

    Instead of clicking on ‘Renew’ Policy option, Go for a ‘Buy New’ Policy from any insurer [including ICICI ;)] option on ICICI lombard.
    Here you can add and remove unwanted options from your 2 wheeler policy.

    When I tried to renew existing policy premium came out to be 1012/-,
    but when I selected for buy new policy my premium was 881 for same 1 year old vehicle.

    I was benifited by this option so sharing it with public.

    Keep posting…

    • Vijay PadiyarVijay Padiyar04-26-2012

      Hi Ashwini

      Your observation is correct. The method I follow is:

      1. Compare the renewal cost with cost of new policy on same insurer’s website (to see how much they rip off existing customers)
      2. Compare the renewal cost with cost of new policy on other insurer’s site (select “transferring policy from other insurer” option)

      If #2 is lower than renewal cost, transfer policy to that insurer (after checking their reputation of course). Also if in case #1, new policy cost is much lower, then call up current insurer and ask for discount on renewal cost.

      FYI, simply buying new policy from other insurer is not the right way to go. In the best case scenario, you will have to get your vehicle inspected before new policy becomes valid. In worst case, you may get into trouble for having two simultaneous policies for same vehicle.

      So if old policy is valid, you must transfer it to the new insurer just before it expires, and in that case you don’t need to get your vehicle re-inspected either.

      Regards

      Vijay

  6. Jerin JohnJerin John10-13-2011

    Hi
    It is October 13 2011. ICICI Lombard is doing the same trick for my bikes policy renewal too. They have added a “PA cover for unnamed passenger Rs. 140” in my renewal premium and I am not able to remove that option when I try to renew online. The call centre and chat desk gave me the same reply – that it is an IRDA ruling. They were also not able to delete this optional item. One of the call centre guys informed me that this is given from the second year onwards. Both of them advised me to visit the branch to remove this option. I’ll keep posted about what happens.

    • Jerin JohnJerin John10-18-2011

      Hi,
      I visited the branch on Saturday 15 October 2011, but they directed me to one of the bike showrooms in Bangalore. I went there and over there they would do the insurance only with some other optional component.
      Frustated, I sent an e-mail to the customer care of ICICI lombard telling my story and that I would renew with some other company by end of Monday 18 2011. Their auto-reply was that they would respond within 72hours.

      However, to my luck, today, Oct 18th tuesday, the customer care called me back and reminded me to renew my insurance before the expiry date of 19th. That was actually a reminder call and not a result of my e-mail.
      I told them I would renew only if this optional component is removed. The officer called me back in 5minutes and gave me an online quote after removing the PA cover for unnamed driver. Quickly I renewed my insurance with ICICIlombard itself.

  7. Thanks for giving this information. i have some problems icici lamboard company. but i know this is best one compare to all, That’s way i don’t leave this company, it gives better information for all.

    ___________
    Suresh

  8. Icici LoambardIcici Loambard07-04-2011

    They are currently ignoring to keep the customer happy because they can afford to. They dont have a close competitor so people are struck with them.

    ——————————
    MAGEE

  9. SenthilSenthil08-04-2010

    Today I tried to pay online, and the premium is higher than last year and contacted the customer care they replied that the additional 140/- is compulsory.

    I am also planning to move to other insurer.

  10. B. JohnB. John07-24-2010

    This is in Jul 2010 and they are still having the same clause in their Insurance policy. The renewed policy is having a higher charge than the last year’s policy due to “PA cover for unnamed passenger” Rs. 140. The answer i got from their customer care is that ICICI has implemented it based on feedback given from customers and is compulsary. What BS! why would customers give such feedback – Most of the two wheelers are driven by the owners themselves. I have decided to move out of ICICI Lombard!

  11. Anand KumarAnand Kumar06-30-2010

    Hi,

    I spoke to their Customer care twice (yesterday and today) and I heard the same words from them.

    Their policy document doesn’t mention that it was mandatory.
    Even the quote for a fresh policy has this value (PA for unnamed) as Zero.

    They simply try to fool every one. They asked me to check IRDA website for relevant order which was issued in Oct’2009. From your blog, I realise that they had done it even in Jan’2009.

    I am gonna move out of ICICI Lombard for sure.

  12. AnonymousAnonymous12-22-2009

    The guy above rahul is simply advertising his useless website. Do you think reading terms and conditions is going to help in anyway. They are written by smart lawyers in std boiler plate format and always in favor of the insurance company. It is same for all of the insuarance companies. You do not have much of a choice!

  13. RahulRahul10-01-2009

    Hi! Thanks for the post. It’s nice & informative. I must guide you that not only ICICI but every insurance company does that same but only if you don’t read the terms & conditions & just sign the papers blindfoldly. I think before scolding the company why don’t you try to get known that on what terms & conditions you had signed. Have been searching for tutorials on how to plan for insurance according to my budget and needs… This tool came in handy too! Enjoy 🙂 http://www.simpleinsurance.co.in

  14. reluctant warriorreluctant warrior04-20-2009

    Here’s my fight for a claim from the same company.

    http://ayesaala.blogspot.com/2009/04/icici-lombard-we-dont-pay-claims-for.html Apologies, if this looks like shameless self promotion.

  15. GabbarGabbar02-21-2009

    Thanks for the info. I am running into some problems with ICICI Lombard Health insurance renewal.

    I too am struggling with their support folk. I think they are trained to say “IRDA rules” for anything they cannot justify in their system 🙂

    Have posted a request to Ms. Preeti Lochan from ICICI Lombard website now and hopefully will get a call from her.

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