The regulator is rolling out a road-map for the insurance sector to have a smooth transition of policies from physical to digital format.
Soon, you may be required to open an electronic insurance account to store policies in a digital format. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) by end of 2018 may make it mandatory to have insurance in an electronic format.
The objective of creating an insurance repository is to provide policyholders the facility to keep insurance policies in electronic form and to undertake changes, modifications and revisions in the insurance policy with speed and accuracy.
A source said that the regulator is rolling out a roadmap for the insurance sector to have a smooth transition of policies from physical to digital format. “The aim is to move into an electronic medium without any inconvenience to customers. This will be beneficial because claims will be passed and even if a policy document is lost or damaged due to any incident, it will still be available online,” said an official. India is the first country to have such a system for the insurance industry.
Where an insurer issues and maintains ‘e-insurance policies’, they have to mandatorily do so by utilising the services of an insurance repository. All such insurance policies in an electronic form will be treated as valid insurance contracts.
Insurance companies including ICICI Prudential Life Insurance have had public campaigns to motivate policyholders to have an electronic insurance account. This would be beneficial even at the time of death claims when the insured’s family is unable to locate the physical policy documents.
In segments like motor insurance, IRDAI has said that all policies will have to be issued in electronic format. For other policies, insurers have been asked to give an option to individuals in the proposal form to have a policy in the digital format.
At present, less than 2 percent of the policies sold in the country are in electronic format. Private life insurer India First Insurance launched the first digitised policy in September 2013. An insurance repository is a facility to help policy holders buy and keep policies in electronic form, rather than as a paper document. These repositories, like share depositories or mutual fund transfer agencies, would hold electronic records of policies issued to individuals. These are called 'electronic policies' or 'e-policies', held in an electronic insurance account.
The Electronic Insurance Account is aimed at safeguarding the insurance policy documents of policyholders in electronic format. If the particular repository has tied up with all insurers, the policyholder can access all his insurance policies on one platform. Any changes or updation of KYC can also be done on this platform.
According to estimates, about Rs 150-200 per policy is spent by insurance companies annually in maintaining policies in physical form. If all the policies are digitised, they could help the industry save about Rs 100 crore a year.
The four IRDAI approved insurance repositories are NSDL Database Management, Central Insurance Repository, Karvy Insurance Repository and CAMS Repository Services Limited.
Not all insurance companies have tied up with these repositories. The country’s largest insurer, Life Insurance Corporation of India, has launched its own platform for e-services which will offer a multitude of services including electronic policies.
How to open an e-Insurance Account:-
--To open your eIA, you first need to select an Approved Person (AP) who is the point of service. Use the repository’s search engine in contact details to find a AP who is located closest to your home or place of work.
--Download the eIA opening form & submit the same along with the KYC documents to the respective AP chosen by you
--You can choose between premium services and basic services. Premium services will be chargeable while basic is provided for free
--The account will be opened within seven working days and you will receive a welcome kit with details of the user name and password for login in.--All insurance policies of companies who have tied-up with the repository can be viewed on the platform. Print-outs of policies can also be taken.