CLAIMS TURN EASY
Insurers are focusing on quicker processing of claims to enhance customer experience
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.
“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.