A good question. Let us start at a very different place.

Have you ever searched for tickets on the net? On many travel sites? Have you got DIFFERENT answers? Different prices?

Have you noticed that many websites behave like Indian Airlines (Air India?) does not exist? And in many places they are CHEAPER than the ‘no-khana’ airlines?

Well if you are wondering what is the connection…please understand when you ask this question “Which medical….” you are likely to get many, many answers.

Hdfc ergo. Icici Lombard. – they are both very quick in issuing a policy…

Apollo, Maxx Buppa, Star ..they cover you for life….

blaha…blah….NO NOT FROM AN AGENT, but from the media. Do I need to remind you that a media is a series of ads…some you know are ads, some you do not know are ads (they are called discussions). For example the hottest debate on one channel now is “India vs. China” obviously Penguin has a lot of budget for advertising. Alas! My book was not published by them.

What is important in any insurance policy? The question to ask is WILL THEY PAY THE CLAIM…? I know some seriously big people in the financial services industry (and that includes New India) and a few promoters of other gen insurance companies. Most of them have policies from New India. Always good to get a GEN INSUR POLICY from a company that does not care too much about its shareholder…

In one such program (I have the print reproduction of the same) a client was being told that Icici has the cheapest Term insurance. This is either advertising power, lack of knowledge or …

Term insurance cheap or expensive is dependent on – age of the client, the period for which he is taking, whether he/she is a smoker, family history…etc. For the same age the answers have been different – and Icici is not always the answer. Sometimes it is Religare Ageon, Kotak, Hdfc Standard life, I Pru……..Also Hdfc Slic allows you to REDUCE the sum assured as your requirement goes down. Frankly a good agent can help you through the buying process – and just too many of the good agents are not looking for new business 🙂 but surely the media is a good fun place….

I must tell you a story…Long, long ago when I was still in college there used to be a very, very famous brand of ‘Mixie’ called Sumeet.

Now a mixie is just a motor – and a motor in those days could cost just Rs. 80-150. However with all the padding up …Sumeet could sell it for Rs. 1200. Soon a lot of ‘look – alikes’ were born.

One shop keeper was convincing a woman..and said ‘Look at this…B..t mixie – and I can take guarantee for the container. He threw the container (plastic) – and it did not break. He told that woman…’With Sumeet…you try throwing…’ Obviously she took the other mixie for Rs. 750.

The shop keeper was a friends elder brother…..you know what I mean, do you not?

In a mixie it is not important as to how long the container lasts (you can always buy a new one). The question to ask is

Will it grind ‘Haldi’? Will it grind …..the harder things, the tougher things, etc?

Will an extra round of grinding burn the motor?

Is the washer of good quality rubber?

Can I wash it with water…without spoiling the threading of the container..?

…blah …blah….

Similarly (sorry Plato and sorry Nachiketa – I know the original is not mine) in life a good teacher should teach you to ask the right questions.
Once you know the right questions, you do not need anchors or even ‘subject matter expert anchors’ to ‘help’ you increase their ad revenues….

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  1. Subra,

    terrific post. I happened to be in escorts for a senior family member’s treatment and was taken aback with their processes and claim settlement modes. For a tyro like me it was an eye opener indeed. got a taste of troubles in treatment inIndia ..

  2. Sir ….
    Right to the point as usual
    Only Right questions that need to be asked are missing .
    Plz enlighten us with your knowledge.

  3. blogs can NEVER give you the questions. If the questions could be made, remember, the salesman will be better prepared to answer the questions! Blogs can only urge people to LEARN WHAT QUESTIONS to ask – hence the mixie example. …LEARNING WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK IS VERY IMPORTANT and the whole thing is a process….

  4. Thanks for the article Subra,

    Regd. right questions, I happened to read the recent article from Manish Chauhan. He mentions about “Co-pay” and “Loading” are some of the main things to watch for when we are going for mediclaim policy.

    Are these the right questions? I dont know. But are these important questions? Definitely yes.

  5. thought provoking…but then you did not told — which medical insurance to buy?
    (ofcourse you hinted New India, I have the same. Though they-generally TPA like Heritage- are extremely arrogant, non cooperating and “i dont care” attitude. You have to be a one in a thousand to get to talk to them on the phone numbers provided to you.)
    I had claimed two cashless policy at the same time…one was corporate policy where they promised full claim and supported dual cashless. But the experience at the hospital and the Heritage TPA was like hell. I had to meet the CEO of the hospital atleast 10 times to convince him to allow dual cashless. He finally agreed after I paid security deposit equal to the amount (1.5 lacs) I was to avail cashless from Heritage. So when Heritage pays the hospital, I will receive my refund. And the people at Heritage were also extremely uncooperative. finally after 5 months of regular followup I received my refund. The point I made at the start to the hospital & the TPA was that nowhere in their terms & conditions they have a clause for not allowing dual cashless facility. I insisted that either the hospital or Heritage TPA give me a written letter that they will not allow dual cashless. of course noone gave that.
    The lessons learnt —
    1. never avail dual cashless
    2. avail cashless only from the bigger policy. (Dont tell them about your other policy)
    3. Dont keep 2 mediclaim policies. (keep only in case one of them is a corporate policy given by your employer)

  6. “Always good to get a GEN INSUR POLICY from a company that does not care too much about its shareholder…”

    I am all yours sir. What a take on the matter.


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