I want to change my Health Insurance Broker/Agent!

There are many others like Suresh who buy health insurance without a thorough check of the broker's credentials and then after a bad experience wa…

When Suresh wanted a health insurance policy, his friend suggested buying it from a friend of a friend. Since he did not know anything about health insurance at that time and he thought buying it from a known source would be advisable and so he bought a policy for him and his family.

Years later one evening Suresh returned home to find his father admitted in a hospital for chest pain and the doctor asking for a deposit of Rs. 2 lakh for Angioplasty. Suresh somehow overcame the shock and called his broker, only to find the broker’s phone switched off.¬†Suresh decided to pay the bill amount and then get it reimbursed later. The broker was not of much help even later, when the Suresh wanted to claim the amount.

Frustrated by the experience and the inefficiency of the broker, Suresh now wants to change his broker. There are many others like Suresh who buy health insurance without a thorough check of the broker’s credentials and then after a bad experience want to change broker/agent.

Here is how to go about changing your Broker/Agent:

  • You can change your Agent or the Broker at the time of the renewal. To know the date of the renewal, check your policy document.
  • Write a letter naming the new agent/ broker and authorizing him/her to carry all transactions regarding your health insurance.
  • For Private Companies: This letter along with the renewal notice and the cheque are all you need when you have bought a health insurance policy from a Private company (Apollo DKV, Bajaj, Star health etc).
  • In case you don’t have the renewal notice, then you can provide a copy of last year’s policy to the Insurance Company.
  • For Public Sector Companies: ForPublic Sector health insurance companies (Oriental, United India, National and New India) you must have the renewal notice along with the mandate to change your broker.
  • In case you don’t have the renewal notice, then you will have to apply to get a no claim confirmation from the TPA or Third Party Administrator and you may even need to refill the proposal form and submit your photographs along with the last year’s policy if the branch of the company is also to be changed.

How do you know when to change your Broker/Agent?

  • No accessibility: When you never seem to get access to your agent or your Broker. His contact numbers are non functional or he is not entertaining your calls.
  • No health insurance knowledge: When you ask him simple questions regarding the policy, the broker/ agent is unable to giveyou adequate information.
  • No maintenance of records: When you find that your broker has no computer records of your transactions and renewals or if he does not remind you of your renewals.
  • Ineffective: When your Broker is unable to help you at the time when you need him most like when Suresh needed him most. There will be some who do not have those skills that are required to provide the service that customers need.

How to select a Good Broker?

If the selection of a Good Broker is done with care there will be no need to change the broker in the first place. These are the criteria which you must look at when you decide to buy a health insurance policy from the person.

His area of Expertise: Health insurance is a matter of great importance hence you cannot just buy it from anyone who sells it. If you are buying it from an agent who is selling health insurance along with other products like Life, motor, householder’s policies, he will not be as well versed with health insurance as he is with other products that are more sold than it. Thus he will not be the best person to buy health insurance from.

Accessibility: Health related emergencies can come up any time and you need to be sure that your Agent/Broker will be available when you will need him the most. When choosing a broker, check by calling the numbers on the website or numbers on the visiting card and waiting for a response. you can also enquire about the other modes of communication like emails which will make it easier for you. You can check how good their service is depending on the time they take to reply.

Health insurance Knowledge: It is not enough to read the policy and explain it to the customers, there is lot more that is needed to be a good broker. The person should go in depth of the exclusions and the policy details and must understand the rationale behind the provisions. He must be patient enough to answer all your questions and honest enough to tell you when he doesn’t know and that he will come back with the answer. Experience: A Broker/ Agent who has just started out won’t be able to give you the best service that is needed as he is not that familiar with the field yet. It is advisable to go to a person who has a considerable amount of experience with many contacts in the field that would help process your claim better.