Subir Mukherjee, OwnerGreenlife Insurance Brokerage Limited, e-Celtic Limited
I was looking for a health insurance policy that provides extensive coverage for my spouse, two children and aged parents. Checking out various comprehensive insurance plans was quite exhaustive and time taking, so I thought of giving various insurance comparison sites a try. To my amazement I found plenty of sites in India who are claiming to sell instant insurance but ultimately collecting your details and selling it to a 3rd Party. I searched in Google and select three insurance comparison sites which I thought most promising. I thought sharing my experience will be helpful to other people and save their time.
Based on my personal research, I analyzed the performance of the sites based on the following criteria
Tie-up with other insurance companies:
Policy Bazaar- My search started with checking Policy Bazaar’s insurance portal that claims to provide various types of insurance policies from several renowned insurance providing companies of India. It offers more than 250 insurance plans from 33 insurers of which 10 are life insurance companies and 23 are general insurance companies.
Bank Bazaar-They provide information 20-22 non-life insurance and 24 life insurance providers. They are mainly into credit card and loan processing, and offer only three types of insurance policies, that is, car insurance, health insurance and life insurance.
GIBL.IN - GIBL is an IRDA authorized insurance broker that offers various non-life insurance plans from 25 insurance companies. For any type of general insurance it offers the highest number insurance plans when compared with all other insurance comparison sites.
Availability of PSU Policies ( New India, Oriental, United and National Insurance):
Policy Bazaar- PSU insurance policies are quite affordable and comparatively cheaper than other privately-owned insurance policies. It is a common believe that their claim settlement is much better. So it is important to look for a site that provides you PSU owned insurance policies. Policy Bazaar has tied up with only one PSU owned insurance provider, that is, National Insurance co. This means that I do not have much option to choose amongst PSU owned policies.
Bank Bazaar- There are no PSU companies quotes listed in Bank Bazaar, and hence, there was no option left for me to check what PSU owned insurance providers are offering in their site.
GIBL.IN - Too much of my surprise, GIBL has included all four of the PSU owned insurance sites that are operating in India. This includes National Insurance Co Ltd, United India Insurance Co Ltd, New India Assurance Company Ltd and Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. This means I was able to check PSU owned insurance sites as well and efficiently compare with other insurance plans from several privately owned insurance providers in terms of premium rates and coverage.
Availability of online and offline insurance policies:
Policy Bazaar- Lot of insurance companies provide good policies offline only. Particularly if it is a PSU then most of their policies are not online. I couldn’t get any of those policies with Policy Bazaar.
Bank Bazaar- I was unable to find any insurance policy in Bankbazaar that was offered offline. There were fewer policies that were offered online compare to other comparison sites.
GIBL.IN - GIBL has a tie-up with several PSUs, and it can provide policies both online and offline. On the call with their agent I been offered policies from Oriental, New India and Others.
Instant policy issuance:
Policy Bazaar- I did a little bit of research on my own and found that Policy Bazaar is a strange entity as I don’t have any direct IRDA approval. However it takes the input from you and then pass it to a 3rd party website called accurate quotes which has IRDA aggregator licence , it redirects you to another site where you can buy your policies instantly. However, it doesn’t take much time to purchase a policy from Policy Bazaar.
Bank Bazaar- Based on my research on Bank Bazaar, it also don’t have any direct IRDA authorization. After collecting the details it pass it to a 3rd party website called Insurance Zone. This site again in turn sends you to other insurance site where you need to complete the payment. I thought the process is unnecessary lengthy and better to buy from the insurance company’s website.
GIBL.IN - GIBL is an IRDA registered insurance broker that can sell policies online as well as offline. It doesn’t redirect you to a 3rd party website and you can purchase policies directly from there. Here, you can also get policy copy instantly.
I checked other insurance comparison sites like Myinsurance Club and Caring Papa. They too have no facility where the buyer can instantly buy policy and get the copy. They are passing the information to others who will call you back to push their product.
Ease in Navigation:
Policy Bazaar- The site was clutter-free and decent, and I was able to easily navigate from one page to another. The site was nicely designed and most of the icons were visible on the home page. There are icons of various types of insurance policies displayed in the home page. One can click on them and can land straight to the policy comparison page.
Bank Bazaar- Initially, it was little difficult to understand how to search for quotes and reviews in this site. But when you are used to it, it seems quite nice. It has a unique friendly style which usually not seen in Indian sites.
GIBL.IN - The site too is decently designed and clicking on various options can help you take to your desired page or subject. Moreover, you can get to see various features in different insurance policies in the home page itself. This can give you a glance of the prominent features each insurance policy type provides. I thought that is a nice touch.
Time & Effort To Buy A Policy:
Policy Bazaar- It took me several clicks to land to the actual page from where I could buy the policy. Once clicked on a particular icon, I was given several options, then many details to fill up and finally was redirected to a different page from where I could actually buy the policy.
Bank Bazaar- Similar to policy bazaar but comparatively a bit more clicks required than Policy Bazaar. Bringing the user to different sites annoying and I had to wait for the final insurance company’s page.
GIBL.IN - Of all the sites, I found it quite simple to check for policies in GIBL. The are collecting minimum personal detail about you and you get all the required policy quotes instantly in their own site. Take few clicks to compare and buy.
Average Premium of The Policies:
Policy Bazaar- I entered required details in the policy comparison calculator and it came up with 25 insurance plans, but most of them were quite expensive. There were no PSU insurance companies in the list.
Bankbazaar- Then I quickly entered details in Bank Bazaar but it came up with only 8 insurance plans. I had only fewer results to choose from, which I didn’t like at all.
GIBL.IN - I started searching for health insurance plans keeping my hopes low, but I could find 19 decent plans. Though lesser number than Policy Bazaar but I found the cheapest online quote here.
Speed of the portal:
Policybazaar- The portal has a fairly good speed and as soon I entered the details, it showed me all the results in a blink of an eye.
Bankbazaar- This portal too has a decent speed and I was able to search and find whatever insurance policies I was looking for within a few seconds.
GIBL.IN – Compared to other portals GIBL takes couple of seconds extra to show the quotes as they are using 256 bit secured encryption technology to protect the data but over time it takes to buy a policy is much less.
Is the Site Unbiased ?
Policy Bazaar – Policy Bazaar clearly endorse certain insurance company and their products. Product and insurance company specific banners are they all over the site. So I guess instead of giving independent suggestion and provide the best policy for the customer they want to push certain product which they are Cleary endorsing.
Bank Bazaar – No visible endorsement of any specific product or policy.
GIBL.IN – There is no visible endorsement for specific policy and company. Being an Insurance broker GIBL is liable to provide independent advice.
Instant chat support:
Policybazaar- Although Policy Bazaar has options like ‘request a callback’ and ‘instant feedback’, it doesn’t has an instant chat support where one can write to a representative to get an instant reply.
Bankbazaar- You can call Bankbazaar representatives and e-mail them as well, but cannot chat with the representatives.
GIBL.IN - Along with mailing and calling facilities, you also get here instant chat facility. You can directly connect with the representative who will be able to answer all your queries.
User Dashboard and Free Policy Storage:
Policybazaar- Researching more I found that Policybazaar doesn’t provide user dashboard or policy updates storage area from where the users can log in and check their policy details like they do in online banking.
Bankbazaar- Here too, you will not be able to get any user dashboard from where you can check the policy details or any updates on your policy.
GIBL.IN - User dashboard and storage area for policy updates are provided with GIBL. As a user, you can log in to your dashboard and check for the updates or changes in the policy. They can get policy renewal reminder and print/email policies 24 x 7 from their dashboard.
Negotiation and Discount:
Policy Bazaar- Policy Bazaar shows those discounts and offers that are provided by various insurance companies. It cannot negotiate the rates with insurance companies and offer a discount rate than what been shown on their site.
Bankbazaar- Just like Policy Bazaar, Bankbazaar too doesn’t provide any offer or discount by itself. It only reflects what insurance companies offer.
GIBL.IN – They are authorized to negotiate with insurance companies and provide discount to certain insurance policies by talking to the insurance companies. This can be an added benefit for the one who is looking for cheaper quotes in certain insurance policies.
Is Your Data Safe?:
Policy Bazaar- I tried to further my research on how safe the sites are as we are providing lots of personal data. Although Policy Bazaar has a safe payment gateway, it is not using the SSL encryption technology for the form pages where you are actually entering the personal data.
Bank Bazaar- As per my research, Bank Bazaar too is not using the SSL encryption technology to protect your personal data when you are entering them.
GIBL.IN – In terms of security GIBL.IN stands out miles apart from the rest. They are using 256 bit encryption to all the pages of the site , particularly where you are entering your personal details. This can help earn user's trust and users can easily put their personal details without any fear of phishing or hacking.
Fast Claim settlements:
Policy Bazaar- This is an area for which all of us buy the policies for. I was not sure who is actually taking the responsibility to look after the client’s interest when you buy from a aggregator’s website like Policy Bazaar. First of all it is sending the visitors to a 3rd party website from where you will be buying the policy so in case of claim dispute who is taking the ownership of the customer and looking after customers interest? Policy Bazaar isn’t a IRDA authorized entity and isn’t authorized by IRDA to handle and negotiate claims on behalf of the client.
Bankbazaar- Bankbazaar too, like Policy Bazaar is taking the user to a 3rd party site. So in case of claim dispute who is going to looking after client’s interest is not very clear.
GIBL.IN – IRDA created insurance brokers to look after client’s interest. GIBL being an insurance broker can help legally for quick claim settlements. It has got IRDA authorization for assisting the policy holders in smooth processing of claim settlements. I felt much safer in buying the policy from their site as I knew for claim they are the people to help me out.
Conclusion: With my extensive research, I was able to understand that although there are many comparison sites with extensive features, Policy Bazaar and Bank Bazaar are two popular sites, but I thought GIBL has scored quite well in terms actual benefits to the user. I thought I actually found an hidden secret in India’s online insurance space. Please share your opinion as well.