CLAIMS TURN EASY

In­sur­ers are fo­cus­ing on quicker pro­cess­ing of claims to en­hance cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence

India Today - - SMART MONEY - —Naveen Ku­mar

In this day and age, no com­pany wants to be seen on the wrong side of cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, and in­sur­ers are no dif­fer­ent. A huge part of this is im­prov­ing claim pro­cesses. Timely set­tle­ment is to the in­surer’s ben­e­fit too as a healthy cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence drives pos­i­tive word­of­mouth pub­lic­ity which in turn at­tracts new busi­ness. The reg­u­la­tor, In­sur­ance Reg­u­la­tory and Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of In­dia (IRDAI), has also made com­pla­cency costly by man­dat­ing pe­nal in­ter­est pay­ment if the claim isn’t pro­cessed within 30 days.

Fil­ing claims on­line has also be­come a lot sim­pler. “A lot of the in­for­ma­tion is be­ing pre­filled. Cus­tomers can at­tach scanned doc­u­ments for faster pro­cess­ing,” says Mehmood Man­soori of HDFC ERGO Gen­eral In­sur­ance. “In­sur­ance firms are now look­ing at claims set­tle­ment within 24 hours to 2­4 days, re­view­ing the turn­around time com­pletely,” says Kalpesh Me­hta of Deloitte In­dia.

“Our claims paid ra­tio of 98.26 per cent in FY17­18 is backed by an au­to­mated claims pro­cess­ing sys­tem, which uses an­a­lyt­ics models to iden­tify clear cases and process them im­me­di­ately. A claim is set­tled in an av­er­age of six days after com­plet­ing the doc­u­men­ta­tion; a third of these are set­tled within a day,” claims Max Life In­sur­ance’s Manik Nan­gia. Mo­tor claims: Ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance is a seg­ment that faces fre­quent claims, and the change is ev­i­dent here as well. “The av­er­age turn­ around time for cash­less claim as well as re­im­burse­ment is four days, ex­clud­ing the time taken for ve­hi­cle re­pair,” claims Sasiku­mar Adi­damu of Ba­jaj Al­lianz Gen­eral In­sur­ance.

The next fron­tier is adapt­ing to smart­phone us­age and mo­bile plat­forms. “HDFC ERGO cus­tomers can use our mo­bile app to con­duct a self­sur­vey of their ve­hi­cle, and sub­mit pic­tures and videos. In such cases, we en­sure claims are re­sponded to in an hour,” claims Man­soori. Cus­tomers can also regis­ter mo­tor claims with the in­ter­ac­tive voice re­sponse (IVR) ser­vice. Health claims: ICICI Lom­bard has come up with an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI)based tech­nol­ogy to fa­cil­i­tate in­stant health in­sur­ance claims ap­proval. “With our e­cash­less process, the hospi­tal can put the re­quest di­rectly in our claims sys­tem. This re­duces turn­around time and in­creases trans­parency,” claims the com­pany’s San­jay Datta.

How­ever, ef­fi­ciency must also ex­tend to ex­ter­nal play­ers like hos­pi­tals and third party ad­min­is­tra­tors (TPAs). “We have a claim­track­ing sys­tem for TPAs, fo­cus­ing on key pa­ram­e­ters such as bar­coded track­ing of claim doc­u­ments, real­time claim track­ing, ecash­less fa­cil­ity for planned hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion, a GPSen­abled claims app for iden­ti­fy­ing net­work providers, fa­cil­i­ties, tar­iffs, im­ages etc,” says Pra­sun Sik­dar of Cigna TTK Health In­sur­ance. Cash­less claims: “Around 40 per cent health claims are now in cash­less mode. Cash­less claims have been in­creas­ing year­on­year as it gives a has­sle­free hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion ex­pe­ri­ence. Most high­end pro­ce­dures, surg­eries, high claim amount­cases now are on cash­less ba­sis,” says Adi­damu of Ba­jaj Al­lianz.

FU­TURE TASKS

“Claims risk as­sess­ment will be more pre­ven­tive and pre­dic­tive to fa­cil­i­tate speed­ier claims set­tle­ment. AI and an­a­lyt­ics will elim­i­nate fraud risk. Telem­at­ics has brought a par­a­digm shift in mo­tor in­sur­ance,” says Deloitte In­dia’s Me­hta. The tech­nol­ogy is in place, now the task is to en­sure that pol­i­cy­hold­ers, un­like in the past, ac­tu­ally do have a bet­ter claim ex­pe­ri­ence.

No longer is prop­erty bought in a woman’s name only so that her hus­band can save tax. Women are be­com­ing not just ac­tive par­tic­i­pants in the home-buy­ing de­ci­sion of a fam­ily, but also self-funded own­ers and co-own­ers. Help­ing them along are the govern­ment and lenders, through ben­e­fits like lower in­ter­est rates, sub­sidy on in­ter­est rates and lower stamp duty. If you are a prospec­tive woman home buyer, here are a few things to keep in mind.

LOWER IN­TER­EST RATE ON HOME LOAN FOR WOMEN

Banks and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions of­fer a spe­cial dis­count on in­ter­est rates for women applying for home loans. It is usu­ally .05 per cent per an­num lower than the pre­vail­ing rate. A .05 per cent dif­fer­ence might not seem much, but can make a big dif­fer­ence in the long run. As­sum­ing a Rs 50 lakh loan where the pre­vail­ing in­ter­est rate is 8.5 per cent, women have to pay 8.45 per cent in­ter­est, amount­ing to a Rs 63,733 ben­e­fit over 30 years.

IN­TER­EST SUB­SIDY UN­DER CLSS

Ar­rang­ing mar­gin money can be dif­fi­cult for women bor­row­ers. To ease down pay­ment and to en­cour­age women in cities and vil­lages to own a home, the govern­ment of In­dia has a cred­itlinked sub­sidy scheme (CLSS) for first-time home buy­ers from the eco­nom­i­cally weaker as well as lower and mid­dle in­come sec­tions.

“Un­der the Prad­han Mantri Awas Yo­jana, women own­ers of a house can avail of a max­i­mum sub­sidy of Rs 2.67 lakh. Ad­di­tion­ally, they can get pref­er­en­tial al­lot­ment of houses over the men,” says Divya Seth, as­so­ciate direc­tor (val­u­a­tion and ad­vi­sory), at Col­liers In­ter­na­tional In­dia.

DIS­COUNT ON STAMP DUTY

“While reg­is­ter­ing a prop­erty, stamp duty is levied as a per­cent­age of the agreed or mar­ket value of the prop­erty, which­ever is higher. This per­cent­age varies from state to state. Spe­cial poli­cies are de­signed to en­sure that women pay a lower per­cent­age if the prop­erty is be­ing reg­is­tered in a woman’s name—ei­ther as owner or jointly,” Harshil Me­hta, JMD & CEO, DHFL, in­forms. In Jhark­hand, women have to pay a stamp duty of just Rs 1 for a prop­erty val­ued be­low Rs 50 lakh. In Delhi, women need to pay a stamp duty of 4 per cent com­pared to 6 per cent for men. Sim­i­larly, the Haryana govern­ment charges only 3 per cent stamp duty from women buy­ers while Odisha charges 4 per cent. The Jammu and Kash­mir govern­ment has waived stamp duty for women buy­ers al­to­gether.

AD­VAN­TAGES OF SPE­CIAL BEN­E­FITS TO WOMEN

To­gether, the spe­cial ben­e­fits amount to a con­sid­er­able ad­van­tage for women buy­ers. For ex­am­ple, if a woman buys her first home on a loan of Rs 30 lakh for 30 years at an in­ter­est rate .05 per cent lower than the pre­vail­ing rate, gets an ad­di­tional CLSS ben­e­fit of Rs 2.67 lakh, along with a 2 per cent dis­count on stamp duty charges, she stands to save Rs 3.65 lakh, as demon­strated in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing ta­ble.

Be­ing first-time buy­ers, women some­times might not be aware of the ad­van­tages on of­fer. In such a case, they should en­gage a prop­erty con­sul­tant as well as a loan ex­pert to ne­go­ti­ate any com­plex­ity in pur­chas­ing a prop­erty.

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