Monday, April 14, 2014
14


This is a tale of woe about Al Ahlia Insurance Company SAOC

I have been a customer of theirs (I'm assuming they were RSA before) since 2009 for until quite recently 2 vehicles, but still 1 vehicle. In all of this time, I've never been at fault in an accident - but have had to fill out paperwork 2 times (people like to drive into my back bumper it seems).

I feel that after being a customer for so long, I'd like to share some observations about their business and perhaps offer a few suggestions to them to make their customers feel a little less like annoying little ants, which is what I perceive their opinion of me, a paying customer, is.

My dissatisfaction stems from a few different areas, it's kind of hard to put my finger on the single issue that really irritates me.

Is it the "lets charge this guy RO 600 to insure his car, but only RO 380 after a friend calls his brother/cousin/pal from the village" price differences? Setting market rates for insurance and offering discounts is all well and good, but from where I'm sitting, if I didn't happen to mention to a colleague (lets call him) Abdullah that I was going to do my car insurance one morning, I'd have been stung the rate I was quoted at, RO 220 more than what the very same person who quoted me the day before finally accepted for exactly the same coverage.

Anyway, I felt like I got a good deal after that "negotiation". Whether that kind of price differential is ethical, I've no idea, I just think it isn't... but perhaps good for them for preying on suckers capitalizing on their market share.

Then, of course, the real test of an insurance company, because until you have an accident, it's just a price you have to pay so you can drive legally here. Back in 2012, whilst driving along wizarat road to Ghubra, some grade A idiot decided to do an illegal U turn right in front of me - too lazy to go up to a safe turning lane. Seeing as I drive this road at least once a day, and quite often many more times than that, I was kind of expecting this idiot to do previously described turn and so had already taken my foot from the accelerator and placed on the brake. You kind of develop a sixth sense about such idiots. They're usually driving Lexus' or BMW's. It like speedbumps, drivers of brand new Toyota Landcruisers will slow down to 1 KM/h, even though they are in a RO 30,000 + vehicle designed for much more challenging terrain. I digress. But really, the bloody speedbump-scared SUV drivers, ugh!

Idiot driver does his turn, I brake, and the driver behind me drives into the back of me. Stopping distances are something people who drive in this country really need to observe. Anyway, it turns out the driver who drove into the back of me was a really nice man and was very apologetic - he accepted full responsibility and it turned out he was also a sucker customer of Al Ahlia.

Now, it's great that they have an Al Khuwair office. Except, that it's merely a office for extracting cash from suckers customers - should you actually need to utilize your insurance, guess what?! You gotta go to Hell Ruwi. Where there is nowhere to park (assuming you have a car that works - seeing as you have to go to make a claim). This is where I'd like to make my first recommendation - why not retask their suckers' cash extraction sites sales centres and also allow them to also process claims? Everyone would be happier. Alternatively, offer a premium service (say, an extra RO 25 a year) to have someone come to ME and deal with my claim. Oh, and it'd be GREAT if they accepted credit cards (cash only as of the last time I went to renew). Didn't they hear? It's 2014, not 1978. People use credit cards for large expenditures these days.

So, after visiting the Ruwi claim office and being told that I needed to print out pictures of the damage caused to my vehicle in order to process my claim, and doing so, and once again braving the 7th circle of Hell to file this paperwork, I'm issued with a gate pass to take my car to a repair centre. When I asked where it was, I was told it was in Ghala. Great. Have you been to Ghala? It's a bit like me saying - rightyho - you need to go to the mosque in al Khuwair (of which I'm fairly sure there are about a million). After some googling and a few phone calls, I found said repair centre and made an appointment to visit them to get my car fixed.

From dropping the car off, to collecting it back again, that took 3 weeks. For 3 weeks I did not have my car, even though I'd paid my car insurance premium and I was not at fault in the accident. Which was a simple botty-slap bumper repair job. I'm sure it took them no less than a day to actually fix it. I should point out that at the time of this debacle, my daughter was born too, and not having my car, was a real pain in the ass. Why is it not law that insurance companies have to provide rental vehicles whilst customers vehicles are being repaired? It'd put the emphasis on the insurance companies to make sure the repair shops work efficiently. The current system is ridiculous and takes advantage of suckers customers - they got our money, they should earn it.

This is an example of a botty slap

Right, now lets flash forward to February 2014. This time I was stopped at a red light, in traffic, in a left turning lane. The through-flow light goes green but the left turn stays red, like it always does at that particular junction. Bang. This time it was an HSE manager for a well known construction company who had mistaken the through-flow green as also a green for the left turn. Another botty slap. Oh joy, more tedious trips to Ruwi. As it turns out, the HSE Manager was very nice (well as nice as you can be after having rear-ended someone), and had their company PRO do all the running around for us, and a few days later I get another gate pass with another mystery repair shop in Ghala on it.

Again I had to google as there was not a map nor a phone number and the name was scrawled so badly I couldn't clearly make it out. It was Al Haditha repair shop in Ghala. I went to see them in the last week of February with my gate pass and my vehicle, after calling them and them advising me to come right away so they can inspect the damage. The people took a photo of the damage and then told me that they'll call me "within 3 days".

I called them every week, and finally on April 9th I got the nod to drop the car off, and yesterday, April 13th, I got the car back. That, to me, is simply unacceptable (having the car for the weekend to do the work, I can live with, waiting a month and a half to get the car fixed - I am not happy about).

Should I use a different insurance company from now on? Are they all as bad as each other? What is the reason for using such slow repair shops? Have you ever had an unfortunate experience of having to deal with an insurance company here in Oman?

Well, rant over.

le fin.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well Al Ahlia and RSA merged some years back ..and now it is Al Ahlia , part of RSA group..

well its the same for most of us..if the car is more than 2 years old, they force us to get it repaired at cheap workshops. On top of it they wont replace new parts..

once i insisted my car to be repaired in showroom with new parts and i had to pay almost half of the repair cost from my pocket.

Anonymous said...

How much do you pay??
My insurance is RO75 including UAE. My car isn't that new.. but its no clunker.

My mate has a 2 year old Jeep Cherokee Summit.. he pays 250. I thought that was a lot.

Ill find the name of my insurance ad get back to you. It the one on the slip road by the highway in Al Kuwair.

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience with Al Ahlia with a clown driving his pickup from behind into my stationary vehicle. As my vehicle was a new one I could fortunately give to Nissan workshop (IN RUSAYL). For 8 DAYS I had to drive a rent a car and had to shelve out OMR 104 from my pocket for no fault of mine. I agree that there should be a provision of providing a rent a car for the duration of repair by the insurance company.

Anonymous said...

The premium is usually 3% of the car value.

I have used many in the past and I'm currently very happy with both my insurers, Oman UAE insurance company and AXA. If you pay AXA a small extra fee, you are assured of agency repair for the first three years, which I think is well worth the money.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 alphabets for you.....AXA :)

Dunk my donut said...

AXA are equally shit- their service place is also in the deepest depths of Ruwi, or Wadi Kabir, or wherever the hell it is from all the way on the other side of town. My 2 year old car with full insurance was hit in the side by a bust that wouldn't wait until i was ahead, just had to change lane FUCKING NOW!!
Over three months it went in 3 times to have shoddy work repaired- they were fixing their own bad work! They oversprayed the paint onto the windows, they didn't replace parts they said they had, the colours didn't match..... and all this time we were having to take the car to the 6th ring of hell and organise hire cars.
Like everything here it is not governed, there is no customer service and ethics are non-existant.
As cars depreciate here the costs to insure go up! That is a colleagues experience with AXA.

Anonymous said...

Well my car is at the minute with Al Haditha. Took them 2 weeks to get approval for a small job which I was promised a call back. In the end I called the Insurance company and got approval while they sat on their a**e.

My question is... how is al Haditha? Anyone use them?

Sythe said...

Anonymous - the paint job they did on my VW is.... ok I guess. They messed up a little around a rear sensor but other than that its pretty good to be fair. Just damn slow - but once they did have my car, it was Wednesday, Thursday, the weekend and I picked the car up on Sunday morning.

Anonymous said...

I had someone stop in the middle of a main road, and then reverse into me because he had seen his mate on the other side of the road, and wanted to go back and talk to him. I had to collect my child from an after school activity and couldn't leave him there alone, so I took a photo of his registration card, and he promised me he would pay for the damage. Oh foolish me. After 5 days of him not returning my phone calls and texts, I called the ROP who advised me that there was no proof and after all who would be so stupid as to reverse in a main road, and if I wasn't careful I would get charged for driving into him!?!?!?! I'm sure that given the guy was a lawyer in a very important place would mean that my word was nothing compared to his. So I sucked it up, and paid the garage 250 OMR to repair the damage that this guy had caused to my front bumper.
A friend of mine had the side of his car totally wiped out at a carpark with cameras. The private company wouldn't show him the recordings (there probably weren't any!) so he had close to 500 OMR of repair out of his own pocket due to the person who did that and drove off without leaving any contact details.
Or the guy in the carpark behind the al Araimi who slammed his door opening into the side of our car, causing a massive dent, saw us approaching, and drove off. Again, kerching on us. If we use the insurance, there is still an excess to pay, lack of car for 3 weeks during the repairs, and increased premiums.
I call this "expat tax". You're never going to win.

Terry said...

The problem about insurance is, unless your car is out of warranty, you're paying a stupidly high amount on insurance for someone else. That's the way I see it because you're never using your own insurance unless you're at fault or need to fix severe damages caused by your own negligence.

So I go for the cheapest available insurance. You don't get jack from the bigger companies that charge double the insurance rate. They're just international names, the people working in them are just as useless as the next one.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

I too don't get if you buy premium insurance why they don't provide a rental if it wasn't your fault?

And the cheating---even if your car is brand new, unless it is under warranty still from the manufacturer, they won't give you new parts.

WTH is that?

Ruwi isn't as bad as driving to Barka. Some guy hit us, and his insurance was Dhofar something or other?

Hell. Pure and simple.

My bro-in-law insures his car in UAE lol, for Oman, and has it towed there to repair it. Cheaper, better parts, faster. But of course, the hastle of the tow truck and a day at the border.

www.muscatinoman.wordpress.com said...

Agree with the fact the intl.brands are just using it's brand name,the management is local,customer service is local and the quality is local too.No matter it's an insurance company,bank or something else.
This article reminded me something what happened the other blogger with AXA.
http://andyinoman.com/2014/03/17/axa-insurance-towell-co-incompetence-and-run-around/

rent a car in uae said...

Thanks for sharing this post about UAE Cars, i really like this post because this post is very informative,
Nice post and Keep shaing

Anonymous said...

Read some of these posts and can only say it sums up this country,, you get what you pay for!!
For example insurance is just like buying a new car, you can have the basic policy which is as it says basic, or pay the extra premium for agency repair which can be for 4 years plus (do you own research ) and you will also receive a courtesy car whilst the vehicle is in for repairs.

Simple pay and have your vehicle repaired by an agent with new parts covered by warranty or go cheap and have your vehicle repaired in a back street workshop with second hand or fake parts.

Regards,

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