A policy holder can buy and keep all the policies under an electronic Insurance Account (eIA) with any one of the Insurance Repository. He can add old policies to this account and also initiate various service requests to insurance repository.
Hitherto, insurance policies were issued in physical mode only, irrespective of whether a policyholder submits a proposal in physical form or online. Further, the policyholder was required to go to the respective Insurer’s office for all the policy servicing needs. Owing to this, the entire process was cumbersome, time consuming and involving incidental expenses. Since all the policies were issued in physical form and not usually collated at a single location, the matter got even more complicated on ultimately demise of the policyholder. The dependents normally had hard time in identifying all the insurance policies and making claims with various insurance companies.
In order to overcome this difficulty and to collate and keep a safe custody of all the insurance policies of an individual at a single location, dematerialization of insurance policies is conceived. The insurance policies including the existing ones can be converted in an electronic form and held with an ‘Insurance Repository’.
Before we proceed, let us understand,
What is Insurance Repository?
“Insurance Repository” means a company formed and registered under the Companies Act, 1956 and which has been granted a certificate of registration by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) for maintain data of insurance policies in electronic form on behalf of Insurers.
5 Entities which are acting as Insurance Repositories currently:
To implement the Insurance Repository System, IRDA has granted Certificate of Registration to the following five entities to act as Insurance Repositories.
• NSDL Database Management Limited
• Central Insurance Repository Limited
• SHCIL Projects Limited
• Karvy Insurance Repository Limited
• CAMS Repository Services Limited
Objectives of Insurance Repository:
The objective of creating an insurance repository is to provide policyholders a facility to keep insurance policies in electronic form and to undertake changes, modifications and revisions in the insurance policy with speed and accuracy. In addition, the repository acts as a single stop for several policy service requirements. The Insurance Repository system also brings about efficiency and transparency in the issuance and maintenance of insurance policies.
Certain questions crop up in our mind when we think of Insurance Repository, which is answered in a best way possible;
What is an E-Insurance Account (e-IA)?
An e-Insurance Account application form is one that is used by and individual to open an e-Insurance Account with the Insurance Repository. This form would be available with Insurance Company, Insurance Repository or an Approved Person.
Each e-Insurance Account will have a unique Account number and each account holder will be granted a unique Login ID and Password to access the electronic policies online.
Do I need to pay for opening of e-Insurance Account or on periodic basis?
No, e-Insurance Account is offered ‘free of cost ‘to the applicants.
What are the KYC requirements?
An e-Insurance Account holder or policyholder is required to
a. Fill the e-Insurance Account form and
• Photo ID,
• Recent passport size photograph,
• Cancelled Cheque (In case of ECS/NEFT services for Insurance premium payment transaction) and
• Address proof
To the office of Insurance Repository or Insurance company or authorized Approved Person (AP) appointed by Insurance Repository.
Where to check the online account?
Once e-Insurance Account is created, you will receive a welcome kit. A pin mailer shall be sent separately. Using the login credentials and PIN, you can access and start using your e-Insurance Account.
After opening an e-Insurance account how to transfer all existing policies to e-Insurance account? Do they automatically appear there?
Yes, it is possible to convert the existing paper policies into electronic form. A service request may be made to the Insurance Repository or Insurer or the Approved person in this regard.
There are instances wherein one buys policies in which name may differ, due to reasons such as change of name, spelling mistakes, marriage. Also policies may carry different addresses. How to put all these policies in one e-insurance account?
What is the process?
All requests in respect of either your e-Insurance Account or any of the electronic policies may be made to the Insurance repository. However, requests in respect of the policies can also be made directly with the Insurer concerned.
Upon a request, the Insurance Repository would handle all servicing needs that fall within scope of their services directly and would forward the others to the Insurer concerned. An update to the policyholder would be provided by the Insurance Repository on the status of the request in respect of all the requests that it receives.
If I buy a new policy, how do I include it in e-insurance account?
Once you have opened an e Insurance Account, to buy a new policy in electronic form, you just need to quote your unique e-Insurance Account number in your new insurance proposal form and make a request to issue policy in an electronic form.
Who is an Authorized Representative (AR)?
A policy holder who opens an e IA shall appoint an Authorized Representative (AR) who shall be entitled to access the account in the event of demise of the policy holder or in his incapacity to operate the e Insurance Account. The AR is entitled only to access the e IA so as to know the portfolio of insurance policies and the nominees of the respective policies held under that account. The Policy Holder can change the AR, at his discretion, during the term of the eIA. The AR is different from a nominee and has only access rights to the e IA in the event of demise of the policy holder.
What is the grievances redressal mechanism at Insurance Repository?
Every Insurance Repository will have a policyholders’ grievances cell to address the grievances in respect of repository services and electronic policies held to them.
Is it possible to shift from one Insurance Repository to the other?
Yes, the e-Insurance Account holder will have an option to shift from one Insurance Repository to the other. All the policy details and transaction history would then be transferred to the new Insurance Repository.
Is it possible to opt out of the Insurance Repository system?
Yes, the policyholder shall make a request to his insurer and upon completion od all formalities in respect of the same, the hard copy of the policy document shall be made available.
From the above process flow and understanding from FAQ’s, the following conclusions may be drawn:
A policy holder can buy and keep all the policies under an electronic Insurance Account (eIA) with any one of the Insurance Repository of his/ her choice. The existing policies in physical mode too can be dematerialized and held in the eIA. The access to all the policies is then available at a click of a button. The Insurance Repository System not only provides policyholders a facility to keep insurance policies in electronic form but also enables them to undertake changes, modifications and revisions in the insurance policies with speed and accuracy. In addition, the Repository acts as a ‘single stop shop’ for policy servicing.
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