Home > Ideas > How I purchased Insurance – Part.2

How I purchased Insurance – Part.2

The story so far – Part-1:

Had zeroed in on Kumar as the Advisor for my Term Insurance purchase – during the 6 month period, when I was deciding on the specifics and studying the pitch made by different players, I had found Kumar the most persistent and the least aggressive (aggression displayed by way of the constant urge to tell the prospect what (s)he really wants). All of them wanted to sell me plans with term-end profit, which obviously meant higher premia for their company and higher commissions for themselves.

But I kept thwarting such efforts and stuck with my original requirement – in the end Kumar won and I awarded him with a deal that was higher than his expectation.

It was time to sign-up and I decided to visit to his office to assess the post-sale service; after all I was entering into a 20 year relationship with this company!


Part – 2:

I visited Kumar’s office the next day with the last piece of documentation needed to complete the process – his operated out of a Priority Cell set-up to serve High Net-worth individuals – I had not done anything to be in such exalted company!

I conjured a different meaning for the term Cell after seeing the unsmiling Security Guard at the door (who did not greet me) and the dirty register kept on a rickety table near the door to take down personal particulars of all visitors.

No one was present instead to receive visitors, the Guard told me to take a seat. It took more than 15 minutes for Kumar to meet me – “Had to submit a report”, he said.

So much for Priority treatment!

And instead of taking the document to proceed with the paper-work Kumar made me another offer – he said that I stand to gain by splitting my purchase into two separate policies – I would pay a lower premium. No way! My belief is that when we go for higher cover the incremental premium gets lower because the fixed cost gets averaged over the larger principal value – so he was selling me a dummy!

And I realised instantly why he’d made this new offer.

But instead of sharing my suspicions I made Kumar explain all the cost elements of the split policies and discovered that he had reduced the policy tenure – 20 years had been reduced to a lower term; hence the reduction in premium. The next step was to ask him to get a quote for the term initially agreed upon and it became evident that there was no change at all. He knew that his game was up.

Having been in sales for over 20 years you develop certain empathy for people of your ilk – I needed insurance cover and I had run around enough for it, so it was time to close and be done with it. His offer was the most competitive and going to another at this juncture meant more heartburns and hassles. I told him to split the policies like he wished.

The reason he wanted to split the policy is pretty obvious – Kumar had separate targets for gross premium collected and for number of policies sold. Two birds with one stone! I checked myself in the mirror and failed to see the Goose, but I played along!

Before the policy came into force I crossed verified with my regular Insurance Advisor (No, I still have not told him about the business he had forfeited out of complacence.) and found that certain elements included in this policy could have been avoided and that I could get a higher cover for the same premium!

Kumar’s company permits customers to change, even cancel policies without any charges if done within 15 days of purchase – this is a rule set by the regulator. Most Advisors don’t mention this to customers, but my regular guy did!

So my work related to this policy is not done yet – nor is Kumar’s, I suspect!

Let us analyse the situation illustrated above:

  1. What are your thoughts on the techniques employed by Kumar? Is it typical?
  2. What could be done differently to augment the customer’s buying experience?
  3. Would some customers have reacted differently – what are some typical reactions?
  4. What are some suggestions you can offer these Sales Professional to build lasting business relationships?

Your replies can be emailed to jayadev.menon@akshworld.com or left in the Comments columns of this blog.

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