Allowing insurers to issue policies electronically; e-policies to be new norm in future: IRDAI

The insurance sector regulator has allowed general and health insurers to issue policies in electronic form and this e-policy will become a norm in the future, a senior Irdai official said on Friday.

Speaking at an industry event, T L Alamelu, Member (Non-Life) Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (Irdai), however, said a lot more needs to be done in the insurance sector for both policyholders and other stakeholders.

"As far as regulator is concerned, there is still lot more to be done. We are continually tracking what needs to be done, not only for the policyholders but for all the stakeholders. Some of the things which we have done are relevant to the health insurance industry," she said.

"I think yesterday, all of you would have seen that now we are allowing insurers to issue e-policy in the proposal form. I think that is need of the day. Slowly there will be distancing (physical) between intermediaries, agents and policyholders. We will quickly have to move into a system where this is going to become the norm of the day," Alamelu said.

She also stressed on the need to use cartoons and imagery by intermediaries and agents through digital means to make insurance products more appealing to people.

"Insurance is classified as boring so more of cartoons and imagery will help. I think that will catch on with the public (fast)," she said at the 'National E-Summit Health Insurance Under Covid Attack' organised by industry body Assocham.

The official said Irdai has also focus towards making wellness a part of the insurance policy package.

"All of us do believe that wellness has to be promoted and wellness promoted by the insurance industry will go a long way in doing good for the policyholders and also good for the insurance industry." Besides, the regulator has also asked the health insurance players to disclose the hospital parameters on their websites with effect from April 1, 2020, Alamelu said.

This will probably nudge the hospitals to up their services and the patients/public to know as to what is happening in hospitals.

Under these guidelines, Irdai has asked the insurers to disclose details such as doctor patient ratio, nurse patient ratio, facilities available in the hospital, number of deaths in the ICU and complete range of facilities so that all the stakeholders can benefit, she added.

Speaking about the coronavirus spread in the country and increased awareness towards health insurance, she said the domestic insurance market has grown from 27 per cent to 30 per cent in a short span during March 2020 to July 2020.

"Awareness has grown exponentially in the past few months. One testimony is that the Corona Kavach policy was launched on July 10, we have been tracking its growth, we find that initially there was huge growth but even now there is a 15 per cent week-on-week growth on Corona Kavach policy," she said.

On the recently released draft on the National Digital Health Mission by the government, Alamelu said this is something which the insurers need to take complete advantage of as it will help the health insurance industry in better pricing of the products.

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Free Press Journal