Last week, private life insurance company HDFC Life announced that it had completed the process of acquiring Exide Life Insurance.
The two companies had announced the Rs 6,687-crore acquisition deal in September 2021. Exide Life will operate as HDFC Life’s wholly-owned subsidiary until the formal merger is completed. However, since ownership and management have changed, it is but natural for Exide Life’s existing customers to have some questions regarding the transition. Here’s a guide to help you understand the transition nitty-gritties.
I am an Exide Life policyholder. How will the acquisition by HDFC Life affect my existing policy’s terms and conditions?
Your life insurance company’s management may have changed. But your policy contract, which in the case of life insurance is long-term in nature, will not be affected. “There will be no changes in Exide Life's existing policy terms and conditions. HDFC Life will not issue new policy documents to existing customers of Exide Life,” says Niraj Shah, Chief Financial Officer of HDFC Life.
Exide Life will operate as a subsidiary until the merger. “Post the required approvals, when Exide Life merges into HDFC Life, HDFC Life will honour all the existing terms and conditions to Exide Life policyholders,” he adds. The company will send a formal communication to Exide Life’s policyholders once the merger process is complete. “As far as policy coverage is concerned, there will be no impact. As long as you continue paying your premiums, you will continue to be covered. The regulations take care of these aspects quite well. Policyholders’ interests will not be at risk,” says Abhishek Bondia, Principal Officer and Managing Director, Securenow.in, an insurance aggregator firm.
This is unlike health insurance contracts, for instance, where the policy is renewed every year. Some insurance companies may discontinue the acquired entity's policies and ask policyholders to migrate to other products in their portfolio at renewal, after giving adequate notice. To be sure, this will also be the case even if your company's ownership does not change hands. However, this doesn’t happen with life insurance, as life contracts are long-term contracts.
Who should I contact if I need to send service requests, file claims or lodge complaints?
For now, the process flow, toll-free numbers and other touchpoints will remain the same. “Exide Life's customers will continue to be supported by Exide Life’s existing touchpoints,” says Shah. Until the merger is complete, both entities will continue to operate independently.
But there could be changes in future once the merger process is complete. What kind of changes should I be prepared for then?
Going by precedent, you are unlikely to face challenges as administrative matters will be managed without hassles. Insurers in such cases send out communication to customers well in advance.
But you, too, need to be more proactive at your end. “Generally, the transition is smooth. Do keep an eye out for notifications from the new insurer. You must figure out the new contact points, email IDs and phone numbers. At times, ECS (electronic clearing service) mandates could create issues, so you need to make enquiries,” says Bondia.
Will the claims settlement process get any simpler?
There could be some changes here as well. “The claim settlement procedure could see some changes on the administrative front,” says Naval Goel, CEO, PolicyX.com, an insurance aggregator portal. For instance, once the acquired entity ceases to exist, you might not be able to use the old claim forms. “There could be some transactional niggles regarding which claim forms to use. If you have purchased the policy through the acquired entity’s agent, it is possible that she won't be aware of the process flow at the new company,” points out Bondia.