How is the experience of buying insurance on Policybazaar? | Policybazaar Review
Policybazaar, or PB, as many in the insurance industry know it, is India’s largest digital distribution platform for insurance, offering products across life, health, motor, travel, pet insurance as well as investment, savings, and retirement plans through their online portal. As one of the pioneers of online insurance marketplaces in the country, they are today a household name synonymous with online insurance itself, and the go-to platform when any individual wants to explore, compare, or buy insurance.
Ever since its inception in 2008, the company has been an ardent cheerleader for digital insurance products, especially protection based products with nationwide awareness campaigns - helping the idea of insurance reach every household with access to a television set or smartphone like never before.
According to their website, one of their key business objectives is to be ‘Customer First’. They aim to be a “place where consumers could find completely transparent insurance information, and an option to research and compare insurance products so they could buy what they really wanted to”.
So, we set out to test this out. Through a scientifically designed process audit, we checked how customer-first the entire journey on Policybazaar is, what is picture-perfect, and what can take some amount of improvement.
Through a mystery shopping audit, our research team went through a health insurance customer’s actual journey on the Policybazaar website and verified their ‘Customer-first’ approach. What were the learnings?
Here’s presenting - Beshak Test Drive - A Review of Policybazaar
Ease of navigation 👍
Being a digital solution, the website of Policybazaar is the crux of the brand, the platform where users discover, compare and make the actual purchase. Overall, discovering products on the Policybazaar website is very convenient. The homepage allows you to quickly choose the type of insurance or financial product you're looking to buy and one click takes you to the landing page for that product.
Several products in one place 👍
Policybazaar is easily the most comprehensive marketplace for insurance products in the country. With partnerships with 50+ insurance companies, most insurance products are available for comparison and purchase on the Policybazaar website and mobile app.
Ready access to policy wording documents and brochures 👍
Today, if you have to make a comparison of different insurance products offline - this is how the process will look to you -
- You begin by making a list of insurance companies that you can think of.
- You spend time, effort, and money traveling to each of their branch offices to collect product brochures.
- You bring them back home and compare feature-by-feature across products. Mind you, different products can name the same feature differently (For instance - a Reinstatement feature can be named Refill/ ReAssure/ Restore/Recharge, etc. based on the insurance plan/ company - but they all mean the same thing).
- You shortlist a few plans based on your limited understanding of what’s on offer.
- You visit the branch office again / call them to get price quotations for your age, medical status, and feature choices.
- Compare features and benefits + costs across plans - to arrive at the best plan for yourself and your family.
With Policybazaar - you skip all this. This is one of the benefits of taking insurance from Policybazaar. No visits to the branch offices and no long calls with the insurance companies. On one platform, you get access to all policy wording documents and brochures. Simply, check for all the policy details you need, right on the website. If necessary, download the brochure/ policy document for a detailed insight as well.
Plus, you get to do a price comparison as well - so you can decide if the product fits your budget or not - from the comfort of your home.
Toll-free & Chat 👍
Policybazaar offers 24X7 customer service through their toll-free contact centre, as well as a chat option on their website. This service was found to be pretty seamless and easy to connect to. You can simply connect with either of these options - and get your queries resolved - any time of the day.
Dedicated advisor 👍
In addition to the toll-free and chat options, you are assigned a dedicated advisor when you call them for the first time. All your queries post that call are directed to this dedicated advisor, who has a detailed insight into your particular case, the history of conversations, statuses on what steps were taken, and advice shared, etc. This dedicated advisor service ensures that you’re not constantly speaking to a new person every time you call customer care.
Social media presence 👍
Policybazaar's handle is available on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and you can reach out to them on any of these platforms in case of queries. They also provide an option to connect on WhatsApp, however, we didn’t test that in our audit.
No unsolicited calls 👍
This was surprising. We have heard a lot about spam calls around online/digital sales, and particularly Policybazaar. However, in our case - once a dedicated advisor was assigned to us, we received no unsolicited calls from anyone at Policybazaar.
Proposal forms on the website 👍
For most of the insurance plans, you can use the proposal forms available on Policybazaar itself to apply for the policy. The proposal forms available were also simplified compared to those directly on insurance websites. Further, some insurance portals require you to fill additional forms right after the payment is made, but this wasn’t the case with Policybazaar. You fill up all forms before you make the payment - and there’s no confusion later on.
Support during purchase 👍
The advisor took us through the policy in detail, as well as explained payment terms properly. We then requested support during the purchase and payment phase as well and the advisor provided guidance and support throughout the process. They connected with us over a Google Meet Call and filled all the details in the proposal form themselves.
Policy verification 👍
Normally, if we buy a policy from an aggregator’s website, the insurance company we purchase the policy from, gets in touch with us to verify the policy details. However, in our case, while we didn’t receive any verification call from the insurance company after the policy got issued, we received a call from Policybazaar for verification purposes. The lady who connected with us was talking at a very fast pace and sounded very robotic. She asked two lifestyle-related questions and verified other details of the policy.
Missing products 👎
Not all insurance products are available for comparison or purchase on Policybazaar. In fact, some important and extremely popular insurance brands are left out of the comparison.
For instance, you won’t see LIC products at all on the site, and if you’re looking at buying life insurance, this can be a letdown, given LIC’s overall popularity. Even amongst health insurance players, HDFC Ergo and ICICI Lombard’s plans are not listed on the site, and these are considerably popular mainstream health insurance brands.
So, while you do get several products for comparison in a single place, be aware that some products might be left out and speak to your advisor about any such brands, before taking a call.
Order of product ranking 👎
One of the main issues of comparing options on the Policybazaar platform is the fact that the first view of the displayed products isn’t essentially based on any feature or parameter.
Products aren’t rated by any of the parameters like their pricing, product quality, customer service quality, or the claims experience that actually impacts them. They’re not even ranked by the flawed Claim Settlement Ratio that most insurance companies, as well as Policybazaar itself, flaunt as a measure of good quality insurance. Unless you notice this and make sure that you filter and sort the products accordingly, you’ll not be able to find suitable ones for you.
We’ve written in detail about this in another article on the 7 things to keep in mind while buying insurance on Policybazaar.
Entire journey might not be online 👎
One of the key promises that Policybazaar offers is that your entire insurance journey - from discovery to comparison, to purchase and even claims - can be done in one place, online. But, given the complex nature of insurance, with a significant part of the claims journey remaining offline, this promise becomes hard to keep. While the company intends to provide end-to-end support, in reality, there are gaps.
The policy purchase and claim process on Policybazaar might not be entirely online. Once you make the payment, based on your medical declarations, the insurer might ask you to undergo a medical checkup, which will be conducted offline.
The claims process, too, across insurance companies is largely offline, requiring you to at least visit the branch office to submit the claims form, supporting documents, medical reports, etc. And while Policybazaar can offer support in documentation during the claims, they cannot essentially guarantee a good experience during the claims themselves.
Product-related advice 👎
The advisor from Policybazaar asked us basic details related to age, place of stay, illnesses, lifestyle habits, etc. and then advised us to buy a policy of INR 25 Lakhs from Care Insurance and opt for the Care Shield rider. We were provided in-depth details about the policy features, terms & conditions, and limitations.
When enquired about products from two other insurance companies, the advisor provided in-detailed insights about the features and limitations of those two products as well. The advisor even sent a comparison link of the products we enquired about and the Care Insurance product he suggested. The link that was shared consisted of a detailed comparison of the products with respect to costs, features, and limitations.
The advisor, however, seemed to be a little biased towards Care Insurance and was pushing us to buy Care Insurance’s product. He told us that the claim settlement ratio, as well as the number of cashless hospitals available with Care Insurance, is more compared to the other insurers.
We, however, chose to buy a different health insurance product. And, in our opinion, the cashless network of hospitals shouldn’t matter much while buying a health insurance policy. As long as the policy covers your preferred hospitals, you should opt for it.
Delay in payment 👎
While our purchase experience was good, there were some issues we faced at the time of making the payment. The payment was taking too long to get processed. The advisor told us that the problem is from the insurance company’s side. He then generated a manual link and sent it to us, after which the payment got completed.
Policy issuance 👎
We were informed that the policy documents will be delivered right after the payment is done. But, the advisor said that there were some server issues with the insurance company we chose to purchase the policy from, and hence, the policy documents will be sent in 24 hours. However, we received the policy papers two days after making the payment.
Payment options 👎
All payment options like credit and debit cards, net banking, EMI options, wallets, UPI, etc. are accepted on the Policybazaar website. However, there’s a limitation when it comes to the premium payment options on Policybazaar. Only an annual payment option is available with them.
They also provide an option of paying the premiums via EMI, but you’d end up paying 13% to 14% extra as interest. Also, only a few top banks are available in the EMI option. And if you’re paying through a Debit Card, you might need to check with your bank if the EMI option is available.
Relationship manager 👎
After the purchase and payment were done, we received a call from the relationship manager who told us that this was his personal contact number and we can contact him in case of any queries or doubts. He assured us that our post-purchase journey will be seamless and confusion-free. We, however, didn’t have a good experience with the relationship manager.
At first, when we contacted the relationship manager and inquired about why we had not yet received the soft copy of the policy documents, he told us that the system is not updated and there’s some issue from the insurance company’s side. After this, every time we tried to get in touch with the relationship manager, a different agent from Policybazaar got in touch with us.
On asking about why we are being connected with a different agent despite being given the relationship manager’s ‘personal number’, we were told that the relationship manager we were assigned to is busy with another customer and hence, our call got transferred to the inbound team.
Limited options to correct policy for errors 👎
This was a negative that needs attention. On Policybazaar, we were able to make changes to the policy that didn’t have any impact on the premium, however, there was no option to initiate any changes that required additional payments once the policy was issued.
Cancellation and refund 👎
While the policy cancellation and refund process was explained in detail to us, the refund process was very slow, and not as per the promised turnaround time. When we raised a cancellation request, the advisor from Policybazaar asked us to send a mail to them for the same. The advisor informed us that they’ll process the cancellation within 24 hours of receiving the mail.
But it took much longer than that for them to process our request. A day after we sent them an email, Policybazaar asked us to send another mail stating the reason for cancelling the policy. A few days later, when we contacted customer care to check the cancellation status, the agent said they didn’t receive any mail from our side.
At first, the agent said they’ll charge a cancellation fee as they didn’t receive any mail for cancellation from our side, despite us repeatedly telling them that we’ve raised a request for cancellation of the policy. Only after giving him our request-id, the agent was convinced that we'd sent them an email for cancellation. The agent informed us that the cancellation mail we had sent was mixed up with another customer's policy mail due to some technical glitch.
Post-purchase support 👎
After all this, the Policybazaar agent informed us that the cancellation would be processed and we would receive our refund within 10-15 days. When we didn't receive the refund in the said time and followed up with them again, they told us they would check with the insurance company and ensure that our refund is processed at the earliest.
Then, the same day, we got an email from the insurer stating they received our cancellation request. When we called the insurer to ask why we received the mail after almost 15-18 days of applying for the cancellation, they told us they had not received any cancellation request for our policy before. This was surprising!
We wanted to know why our cancellation request was raised after 15-18 days with the insurer. We tried to contact Policybazaar, but our call was rejected twice. Only after we raised a callback request from their website, we got a call from their agent. He had no idea about why this happened and told us they have escalated our matter with the insurer.
Our post-purchase experience with Policybazaar was not good at all. We had to follow up with both the insurer and Policybazaar multiple times and go through a lot of hassles. And, while the relationship manager promised us a seamless post-purchase experience, we did not get any assistance from his side during all this.
Acknowledgement mail 👎
Generally, when you mail a query to any insurance company or aggregator platform, you receive an acknowledgement mail within minutes - which tells you that the company/platform has received your query and they will get back to you. This, however, is not the case with Policybazaar. We had sent two emails to them - one with an endorsement-related query and the other one was for policy cancellation.
While we didn’t receive an acknowledgement mail for the endorsement-related query at all, Policybazaar did send an acknowledgement mail for the cancellation query after a few days. However, the acknowledgement mail was very confusing and did not mention anything clearly.
Claims support 👎
Policybazaar offers a claim support service for all products bought through their portal. In fact, they offer a 100% Claims guarantee for some select partner insurance companies.
While we did not go through the claims process, in this particular audit, we’ve learned through our interactions with other experts and users in the Beshak Community that the claims support is often limited to help with the initial documentation process alone. This is largely due to the claims process of insurance companies being offline - settled directly by the insurer.
As a result, you will need to go through a TPA (Third-party Administrator) or directly interact with the insurance company to get your claim processed, and Policybazaar would not possibly have any impact on the quality of service you get then.
Overall, there are some things about the Policybazaar experience that work in the user’s favour, some others remain unresolved challenges. Particularly the fact that there are missing products (often popular and important ones), the comparison is not completely neutral, biases towards products of a particular insurance company, and that you cannot pick your own advisor (instead the system assigns one to you).
Also, the fact that although Policybazaar assigns a relationship manager after you purchase a policy, there’s no guarantee that you will receive proper assistance from them. Every time you have a query or need to change something in your policy, you might have to contact their toll-free number. And while we didn’t go through the claims process ourselves, we know for a fact that you will have to connect with their toll-free for claim intimation as well as physically visit their branch office to submit the required documents.
All this makes the experience slightly bittersweet for our liking. We genuinely believe that the platform makes the insurance purchase experience easy and convenient for people, but one should be careful not to get carried away by the seemingly seamless experience. With some improvements, however, we believe this entire Policybazaar experience can easily be made flawless, and truly customer-first.
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