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What a disappointment

By: | Jul 07, 2007 12:31 PM
(Updated Sep 12, 2007 07:19 PM)

My experience with ROYAL SUNDARAM has been pathetic from the application process- this includes Health and Auto.  I selected Royal Sundaram when the private sector got open as a alternative to the old fashioned governmet insurances.  My experience below shows the non sense as a customer I had to go thru selecting ROYAL SUNDARAM as the insurance carrier.  Described below is the application stage and I picture what I may go thru should claims need be.

HEALTH: My family health plan has been with Royal Sundaram for a while and no claims until today.  We switched to Cholamandalam to try out and at the end of the year I switched back to Royal Sundaram when I saw the true colors of Royal Sundaram.

The ROYAL SUNDARAM agent claimed that Royal Sundaram was the only company that had their own appointed agents/representatives assuring the best of service.  Royal agents play the trick of letting the previous health insurance policy expire even if you are willing to purchase a new policy with them months earlier when you receive the renewal notice.  Once your existing policy with another company expires the agents play around with the customer, shooting up the premiums and blaming on new management of their company and so on.

Common nuisances with Royal Sundaram are, the agent and the company forget that an application was submitted by customers and your health cards won’t reach you for MONTHS(in my case 3-4 months with 2-3 follow-up calls everyday).  The agent will soon start advising you that it is not in his hands and will ask you to call customer service directly instead.   Your nightmare begins as you will be put on hold for hours and finally the phone line disconnects.  THESE CALLS WERE MADE TO CHECK ON THE STATUS OF OUR HEALTH CARDS THAT HAD NOT BEEN RECEIVED FOR MONTHS.

Neither the agent nor the company let you know that once you sign in for a lower limit policy you will never be able to upgrade.  Also should you have had a higher limit with some other company(in my case Rs. 5 lakhs) Royal cons you into the highest they offer(Rs. 3 lakhs) and lock you for good.  Once you request increasing the limit, Royal makes a mockery of the request and the agent  tries to make you feel guilty after weeks of waiting saying the response from Royal is that they feel the request is behind some hidden fictitious unexplained illness and do not cooperate even if I insist on a health check being performed.  Instead the agent pretends to be Mr. Nice as if Royal was helping  customers save on annual premiums to  lock in low policy amounts by advising wrongly.

ROYAL SUNDARAM includes new leaflets with their renewal notices showing the table of new charges under each category and will not let you upgrade verbally saying the benefit is for new customers only.

On discussing with the agent, the agent tries to do you additional favors and saying there is enough time to work on the policy and drags on until your policy expires to start his game.  On requesting to increase the coverage as the option was not available during the previous year, the agent replies that he was not aware of the new options and will get back after discussing with the company.  Weeks go by and no response from either the company or the agent.

Finally on getting the agent to speak after tons of telephone calls, he claims the company is yet to respond.  On following up, the agent comes back saying the company allows only new customers to enjoy the benefit and existing customers are excluded(penalized).  After multiple arguments the agent refuses to even mention the name of the manager whom I could talk to and finally says he communicates only thru email.  The agent refuses to reveal the managers name that I could talk to.  Once the customer is out of their coverage, they try to utilize it as a weakness to play around.  Thank god my family members were in good health during this non sense.  No where do they mention that existing customers are exempt and the story goes on and on.

AUTO: The next turn-off is when your renewal notice turns in 2-3 months prior to the expiration of your policy with the new charges(defaced IDV in the case of AUTO insurance) creating a very low value while you plan on selling your vehicle.  Royal Sundaram unnecessarily cuts the IDV to a miserable amount charging a high premium and I did not realize until I planned on selling my vehicle.  I was shocked and surprised when I checked with other Auto insurance players about the IDV.  The company tries to benefit the high premium by hooking the customer which is foolishness.  The burden is, the customer faces serious problems while selling their vehicle as  they get a poor price on their vehicle.  The difference amount could be 50% or lesser of the value.

Royal Sundaram does not realize that this is a customer driven market and their old BUREAUCRATIC approach and old tricks don’t work in the new game.  Bigger and better companies offering exceptional options are available in India.**  From my comparative analysis with other companies, it is a fact that Royal has the smallest hospital network and the list has reduced from the previous years.

Royal does not understand the definition of insurance.  Insurance is only a backup and not a pawn broker shop.  Royal is so incompetant in providing this basic service and I wonder how they could compete with global players who plan on bringing the insurance sector like the US and Europe's into India where health insurance is used on a common doctor's visit.

ROYAL SUNDARAM customers, if you have not experienced these non senses with Royal, don’t be surprised to face such situations and then worry about being disappointed.   Royal Sundaram may have been good during the past, but today it is an utter disappointment.

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