Personal Finance

Manage your insurance policy online

Rajalakshmi Sivam | Updated on July 09, 2011 Published on July 09, 2011

Conduct all insurance transactions without ever having to get up from that comfy chair of yours.

Have you been postponing a fund-switch in your Unit Linked Insurance Plan because you have to go all the way to the insurer's office? Do you find it annoying to call up the agent to find out the value of your units ? You can avoid such hassles if you register in the insurance company's online portal. You can access all your account-related information and conduct transactions such as fund switching, change premium frequency, pay premium, register complaints, download premium certificate and account statements.

The online service is available to all policyholders irrespective of whether the policy was purchased online or through an agent. It is also free of cost. Many life insurers including Bajaj Allianz, ICICI Prudential, Kotak Life Insurance and HDFC Standard Life offer the online service channel now (facilities on offer may differ with each).

Insurers have several checks to track the online operation of a policyholder's account. It is password and PIN protected and every online transaction is intimated instantly by an e-mail or SMS alert.

Managing policies

Apart from being able to check policy details like the sum assured, surrender value, premium renewal date, fund value and the like, you can also request for SMS alerts on premium renewal date, fund updates, etc.

If you have multiple policies with the same insurer you can see details of all your policies and manage them without having to go over a confusing bunch of policy documents. With many insurers, as in the case of Bajaj Allianz, policyholders can also submit claims and track its status online. Bajaj Allianz's online portal sends an automated SMS alerts to customers at every stage of claim processing. Another advantage with online transaction is everything gets processed faster. Mr Pawan Mahajan, Head-Customer Care Unit, Bajaj Allianz, says, “Online requests are processed immediately as the customer does the transaction himself and there is no action done at the back-end. Except for address change and requesting for O-PIN (Online Personal Identification Number) where supporting documents need to be submitted, all other services are carried out without any physical interference”.

Premium payment

Every insurer including the Life Insurance Corporation of India has a payment gateway facility in their website now. All that a policyholder needs to do is to log in, click on the online premium payment option, choose among a list of banks and make the payment. And once the payment is done, the customer is shown the status of the payment along with a downloadable acknowledgment of payment received. The intimation of receipt of payment is also sent to the customer's registered email account and mobile number too. With ICICI Prudential, the customer's online payment history is available for reference on the Web site.

The facility for online premium payment is, however, offered only to non-ULIP policies with LIC. Most private insurers including Kotak Life Insurance, Bajaj Allianz and ICICI Prudential offer the service across product categories and give the option of paying through credit/debit cards. A request for changing the frequency of premium payment on the policy and download of premium certificate needed for tax purposes can also be done online.

Fund switches

In a Unit Linked Insurance Policy, insurers give several fund options to choose from. Despite a certain number of free switches per year between these options being allowed, many customers didn't do it as the process was tedious. But now fund switching can be done in minutes through the insurer's portal. All that a policyholder needs to do now is to log in and edit the fund allocation percentage shown on the screen by entering the new allocation percentage (do verify if allocations across different fund categories total up to 100 per cent). Mr Madhivanan Balakrishnan, Executive Director, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance claims that almost 85 per cent of fund switching by customers is now being done online.

Registration process

The registration for an online id is very simple. On clicking the new registration link on the Web siteyou will be asked to enter the policy number, date of birth, premium amount and registered email address. On positive authentication of these details, an online id will be generated. With some insurers there is however one more additional step that the policyholder who intends to do things such as fund switching, part withdrawal of fund, premium frequency change, etc, need to do. A Bajaj Allianz's customer for instance is required make an online request for O-PIN This personal identification number will be generated by the insurer on the policyholder's request and sent his address. The policyholder will thereafter be asked to provide this PIN for specific online activities.

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