Are buying insurance plans really that difficult and do you need assistance to buy them or not? To understand this, the entire buying process is split into 3 parts:
Pre-Buy: This includes selecting a product, filling the proposal form and attaching the Know Your Customer (KYC) documents.
Issuance Process: Less than 5% cases attract medical examination and call-in for additional information. Medical examinations are arranged by companies themselves. All one needs to do is turn-up at the designated medical test center and undergo the tests.
Customer Service and Claims: This is directly handled from customer service teams and claims teams at insurance.
The need for assistance is only during product selection and when one is filling the proposal form. For all the well-educated consumers of today, filling a form isn't that difficult, keeping in mind that most such forms are self-explanatory.
Now comes the point of selecting a product that suits ones needs. Today, the internet has empowered consumers with vast amounts of knowledge. With comparison websites available, all one need to do is just log on, compare the various insurance products and choose the product that best suits ones needs. Such websites also empower consumers to select the product, fill an online proposal form, pay the premium without talking to anyone and get an e-policy issued.
To help the case of online buying, look at the allocation charges and their impact on maturity figures of products which are available online as against their offline counterparts.
Similarly, if one looks at a term insurance plan where basic premium is starkly different from online term versus off-line term, for which the agent commission / income needs to be in-built.
As the market prepares to build more do-it-yourself processes, customers will benefit from this. Currently there are a few online insurance aggregators which allow comparison and a few insurance companies offer e-policies and consumers can benefit by the new empowerment taking place.