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Sunday, May 12, 2002

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Investment World - General Insurance
Money & Banking - General Insurance
Info-Tech - Internet -- Simple and serious

Anand Ram

ING Vysya Life Insurance's domain is spartan, providing for quick and simple access. The material is logically organised without redundant links. Clicking on the menu bar lists out the subsections on the site. The only ever flashy graphic on the homepage showcases ING's milestones.

The homepage has a matter-of-fact appearance to it and a menu bar links you with other modules on the site. A feature that holds your attention is the `Pay your Premium Online' object. An arrangement with ICICI's lets you make your premiums payments automatically in return for a modest charge. Another feature is the search box that lets you look up insurance terms or the company's products portrayed on the site.

The `choose your plan' section prompts you for three simple inputs, such as your current stage in life, premium affordability constraints and term requirements, based on which the programme decides on the suitability of an insurance plan. ING Vysya has whole life, money back and endowment plans on offer.

There is a `How much insurance you need' tool that quizzes you on a spectrum of fund inflows and outflows. It then tells you the right amount of insurance cover you may need after taking into account your income growth, return on investments and the inflation rate.

Though the site does not make premium tables apparent, it still gives you the premiums through a calculator, depending on the type of policy, payment mode, sum assured, age, sex and rider benefit inputs. This section also holds to the lens its products and the add-on benefits associated with them.

`Commonly asked questions' is one of the most comprehensive lists compiled on demystifying the world of insurance. It explains in simple terms what an insurance and premium is to policy backdating and assignment. A glossary of insurance terms is also available on the site.

A sitemap assists you on how the whole Web site is arranged. The `Contact Us' section runs you down on all the regional locations of the company. The branch locator has an attractive map template that blurbs the company's locations in the metros. A form on the `Request Brochureware' section will prompt you for relevant details so that the company can snail-mail you information on its products. Alternatively, you can download the brochures in PDF format.

The company has also posted discussion papers and topics of interest from the Asia-Pacific Risk and Insurance Conference 2001.

On the whole, this is a site geared to functionality and stands out among others in explaining the insurance business to the layperson. Its recent move to spruce up the Web site shows the company is committed to taking things seriously on the net.

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