Karthik Arun B’s car met with an accident in late December 2017 and was taken to the service center for repairs. Even at the time of filing claim, Bajaj Allianz asked him to provide his Aadhaar number, which he refused. After that they sent an appraiser over and he approved work to commence on the repairs based on Karthik’s claim and copy of police complaint given.

When Karthik went to take delivery of the car yesterday, his service adviser informed him that the appraiser from Bajaj Allianz, Erramanzil Branch was asking for his Aadhaar details to process the claim. Karthik refused and asked to talk to the appraiser. The man claimed that about 4 or 5 days ago, the internal systems at Bajaj Allianz were changed in such a way that no one could process a claim approval unless the policy holder’s Aadhaar details were entered. When Karthik sent him a copy of the latest IRDAI circular telling insurance agencies to extend deadline to 31st March 2018, he tried saying this was an internal requirement.

Karthik reminded him that neither he nor Bajaj Allianz could supersede the authority of IRDAI, Government of India or the Supreme Court of India. He even reminded him of the Supreme Court ruling that no service could be denied for want of Aadhaar.

The appraiser then told Karthik that he was unnecessarily complicating things and that he should simply give him his Aadhaar number!! Karthik told him that he would decide on my next course of action once they provided him with an official letter on their company letterhead signed by a competent authority stating clearly that despite IRDAI circulars, GoI gazette notifications and Supreme Court rulings, Bajaj Allianz was unilaterally and in complete contempt of court insists on him providing his Aadhaar details to process his accident insurance claim. After this, Karthik have not heard anything from the appraiser.

All this was on the 7th of February. And then Karthik took to Twitter to make the issue public. On the 8th of February, someone from Bajaj Allianz’s grievance redressal unit called him, yet again trying to convince him to submit his Aadhaar details. Karthik refused and told them to process his claim post haste as they were simply digging a deeper contempt of court grave. She then sent him an email acknowledging his complaint and forwarding the same to someone named P Harapradeep.

On Twitter, Bajaj Allianz provided the following explanation for their actions:

We’d like to let you know that IRDAI has advised us that claims may be kept in abeyance if Aadhaar and PAN/Form 60 are not submitted. As we are not aware if a customer is eligible to be enrolled under Aadhaar or not, we have two options. A. If client is eligible to be enrolled under Aadhaar, its submission is mandatory for claims as advised by IRDAI. If he has not yet procured the same, he has to submit proof of having applied for it. B. If client is not eligible to be enrolled under Aadhaar, because he is either NRI or resident of states in NE India, Aadhaar is not mandatory. Regarding the last day of submission, being a large organization dealing with millions of customers, it would be remiss of us to wait until the last day to encourage our customers to submit their details.

If IRDAI has issued secret instructions to insurance companies to keep claims hostage to the submission of Aadhaar details, this is a grave matter. However, given the current trend of insurance companies pushing people hard for Aadhaar details, but backing off when push comes to shove, there is good reason to believe that even if such instructions are being made, they will never be publicly admitted.

This is not an isolated incident. Jayashree had recently been denied a cashless health insurance claim by Cigna TTK. The LIC website had blocked policy holders access to their own accounts unless they linked Aadhaar. In both instances, public attention forced the insurers to back off.

If the support person is speaking the truth and there are secret instructions to illegally deny people claims unless they provide their Aadhaar, despite the deadline for linking being extended to 31st March, this is in contempt of the Supreme Court, in violation of public orders by the government, regardless of what is being informed privately and flat out robbery.

We have, so far heard of no one being denied premium payments unless they link Aadhaar. Apparently the insurance companies are very selective when it comes to complying with “orders” – even if such orders existed.

Vidyut is a commentator on socio-political issues with a keen understanding of tech and policy. She has been observing and commenting on Aadhaar since 2010 from a perspective of human rights, democracy and technological robustness.

One thought on “Bajaj Allianz refuses to process claims without Aadhaar

  1. Any secret instruction against mandate of the law or the supreme court is not just a mere case of contempt and disregard of authority, but sedition per se. Regulatory authorities who think they are above the supreme regulators should be dealt with accordingly, rest will fall in line.

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