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News Notes

News Notes
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First Published: Sun, Feb 14 2010. 09 30 PM IST

Updated: Sun, Feb 14 2010. 09 30 PM IST
Cholamandalam’s car insurance goes online
You can now shut out the noise made by agents and other distributors who call you just when your car insurance is up for renewal. Increasingly insurers are offering you the choice to buy and renew your car insurance policy online. The latest to do this is Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co. Ltd, which is now offering its car insurance policy online.
This offer is available to customers who wish to buy or renew their policies from other insurers as well. If you buy Chola motor policies online, you get a premium discount of up to 20%. After you have bought the policy online, the certificate of insurance gets emailed to you, which works as a valid policy document till the time the originals reach you. But, if the renewal is delayed even by a day from its due date, the procedure is taken offline because, any delay may require physical inspection of the vehicle before the cover is renewed.
The company is planning to offer other insurance covers such as travel, health, home and personal accident online.
— Deepti Bhaskaran
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Will base rate benefit old loan customers?
The new base rate system proposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 1 April promises to bring more transparency to how loan rates are fixed and may give the borrower an opportunity to bargain for a better deal.
Illustration by Jayachandran/Mint
But what will happen to old customers? RBI, in its circular, says that the base rate would be applicable for old loans that come up for renewal. “However, if existing borrowers want to switch to the new system before the expiry of the existing contracts, in such cases the new or revised rate structure should be mutually agreed upon by the bank and the borrower,” says the circular.
Under the present benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) system, existing borrowers never enjoyed the benefit of lower rates even when they opted for a floating rate, but had to pay more whenever the rates went up.
While the new base rate system puts old customers in a position to bargain, it doesn’t make it absolutely necessary for the banks to reduce rates for them. In contrast, all new customers will have the advantage of getting their loans linked to the base rate.
For their part, bankers are saying that it will take time before the new system gets implemented fully.
Transparency being the key objective of the base rate, RBI has mandated that banks should exhibit all information related to the change in rates at all branches and also on their websites. “Changes in the base rate should also be conveyed to the general public from time to time through appropriate channels,” the circular says.
—Nidhi Sinha
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First Published: Sun, Feb 14 2010. 09 30 PM IST