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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: July 2, 2009 @ 9:14 am

    Open 24/7?

    Ciara O'Brien

    I’ve got to the stage where I do most things online - pay bills, shop, keep in contact with friends. So I’m used to logging on at 1am to pay my ESB bill, or transfer money for my mortgage.

    That’s the beauty of online self-service, isn’t it? Not if you’re buying insurance, it seems.

    Imagine my surprise when I tried to renew my car insurance last night, only to be greeted with a message that said the self-service option was only available between 8am and 8pm on weekdays. This was increased to midnight on weekends.

    I have to admit, I’m a little puzzled. rather than take up time on their phone lines, wouldn’t it better to have around the clock access to policy renewals? It’s not as if I made any changes to the policy – I’m trying to give them money.

    Do other Irish insurance companies have similar restrictions?

    • Alison says:

      It must be something to do with insurance in general. I find it impossible to get an online quote in full, it always has to be followed up with a phone call. Some of them don’t even do online, they want to talk to you. I think they must reckon they can sell you more stuff…

    • Ciara says:

      I suspect the same. When I rang (website was down)they tried to sell me an add-on to the policy.

    • Mark says:

      This conjures an image of the user sending an e-mail or filling in an online form at home and a 1930s style ticker tape stamping out a spool of thread in a Dickensian warehouse with underfed myopic minions frantically processing the data to give the appearance of an integrated 21st Century technology. :-) . Reminiscent of Spike Milligan’s lampoon of a UN Rapid Response Unit: when a phone rang an operator, coiled like a predator, would answer instantly: “Hello”.