Losing somebody can be devastating. Plus, complications like property and inheritance that can make things extremely uncomfortable between family members of the deceased, add to woes. Here is where financial planning becomes even more important – both for short term as well as long term.
The good news is you need not visit psychologist or lawyers or even personal finance advisors to get help. To gain better consumer insights and differentiate themselves from the rest, life insurance companies are becoming a one-stop service provider and often going beyond their ‘insurance selling’ mandate to help consumers. While in the older days, insurance companies used to offer slew of value added services linked to insurance selling, today insurers are offering many services that smart customers should take advantage of.
Emotional counselling: All of us know visiting a shrink can be a costly affair. A session with a psychologist can make you poorer by a few thousands. Insurers are offering free counselling from trained professionals within one year of time of claim. If need be, customers can even have a face-to-face counselling session that can revolve around solving stress, anxiety, transition, parenting and so on.
Sandeep Ghosh, MD & CEO, Bharti AXA Life Insurance said, “Loss of a dear one is a very difficult phase wherein families of the deceased often feel overwhelmed, and in some cases prone to depression. Through our grief support programme, we aim to provide families with the necessary emotional and other support that goes beyond insurance.” Often, a person’s death is quite life shattering and the depression caused by it is a serious cause of concern for family members. This can help families cope with the grief of loss in healthy and meaningful ways that enable them to transcend and move forward in life.
Will service: Another area which is of concern is legal tangles. More often than not, a will causes more friction than they help. At times, there are is will as well, compounding problems.
Ordinarily, a visit to a lawyer is the first recourse. However, legal fees can be saved if you utilize resources of existing financial service providers. Many insurers are these days providing will related help. These can either be in form of opinion on a will. Some companies are also working towards prepare a will.
“We are working on a campaign called iWill wherein we want to educate our customers regarding the importance of preparing a will and the required legalities associated with creating a will. We want to simplify the process for their benefit,” said K S Gopalakrishnan, MD & CEO, Aegon Life Insurance. Any help in creating or forming a will is cost saving. Online will writing costs Rs 4,000 while phone or email will writing could potentially cost Rs 25,000. Bharti Axa Life Insurance connects individuals to a certified legal practitioner, who provide a second opinion on executed wills.
Financial planning and claims: Ganesh Iyer, senior vice president, claims and underwriting, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance, says many a times they reach out to family members overseas to process a claim and do other odd jobs as well. “We are in the business of processing claims. Many a times, we have reached out to the family of the deceased outside of India, visited their homes to manually search for documents and even liaison with police. Technically speaking, this may not be our job, but claims are a serious business for many families,” Iyer said.
Many families face hardships even when they get insurance claims. Industry experts say that this is because families often are at their vulnerable best during a death, and money can get spent or invested in unnecessary places. A lot of money in your hands can then prove to be a curse. Insurance companies are nowadays extending free help in this area as well. They try to help in three categories: maintaining current lifestyle, plan for different life stages and investment advice. Don’t worry company products are not sold as advised! Personal finance advice ordinarily costs Rs 500-1,000 from trained experts.
In order to facilitate effective financial information sharing among family members, Aegon Life offers iCare eBook which consists of all the financial details that an individual can share with his/her family. This is extremely important during an adverse situation.
- Customers can even have a face-to-face counselling session with insurers that can revolve around solving stress, anxiety, etc
- Many insurers these days are providing legal services, and others related to preparing a will