In the recent past many of the Indian insurance companies have launched websites that offer term insurance at very lost costs.

They are able to offer low costs, as they have bypassed the insurance agents as you purchase them online. What they don’t realise that the agents do all the running around for the customer which now the customer has to do on his/her own.

Customers don’t mind doing it, if they are saving lots of money. But the biggest challenge that they will face is, that these web sites are very poorly designed. And to make things more difficult, they are only designed for Internet Explorer or Flash. Well the insurance companies should know by now: Internet Explorer is not the only browser around and definitely the most secure browser around.

People have moved on to either Firefox or now Google Crome/Cromium. Also people are increasing using devices which don’t even run Windows so they don’t have internet explorer around. If you are using Linux, Mac, sorry no insurance policy for you? What about people coming from phones such as Android, iPhones, they too can’t buy the insurance.

Here are the problems that I found with some of these popular online insurance websites. Some were serious compatibility issues with Firefox and Crome browsers, while others had poor usability. The biggest pain point was the option to purchase insurance online was hidden somewhere deep inside in some of these websites, so it took time to first find the option.

  • ICICI Pru Life: They have one of the better websites, easy to use. Its flash driven, works on Internet explorer only. The first page loads perfectly and then it goes to the second page to ask to fill up all your personal details. If you are using Firefox or Crome, you only discover this, after you fill up the entire form, you hit on the submit button and nothing happens. And yes, if you want to cancel your application, you can’t do it online, you have to visit the branch, fill up a form and then you get your money back.
  • Kotak Life Insurance: This is a tad better, if you use Firefox, you can’t buy any insurance. It tells you:This site can only be viewed in Internet Explorer 6.0 and above sorry! go away 🙂
  • Metlife: You cannot get past the first page. The drop down for Duration of the term of the insurance doesn’t work on Firefox. I also installed Firefox4.0 Beta and it still didn’t work.
  • Aegon-Religare: I was able to get past the first screen. The first screen asks you to put in your expenses and works out your insurance for you, didn’t find a way for you to change your insurance and it re-calculate your premium.
  • HDFC Standard Life: Had no option to first calculate your premiums. You are first expected to input all your personal details include 3 phone numbers before you can get past the first screen. I finally added all the details. After inputing everything, it didn’t go further as the check box for “I accept terms and conditions” did not work. I tried even with Firefox 4.0, but no luck.

None of these websites were standards compliant, what these companies don’t know that the internet was built on open standards and by breaking standards, they are loosing customers. What I last heard was even, being much cheaper, the percentage of people buying online insurance was very small. No wonder.. God bless these insurance company, they need serious help!