Irda has taken fresh steps to make insurance products more popular in rural areas. Here’s how RAPs will help further the cause of insurance
To make insurance products popular and increase the penetration of both life and non-life insurance, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) has issued new guidelines allowing insurers to use licensed Common Service Centres (CSCs) as distribution networks in rural areas.
These centres will enable insurance companies to market certain categories of retail policies through a special-purpose vehicle with the help of a Rural Authorised Person (RAP), who, in turn, will act as an insurance agent.
Irda has said the RAPs will assist the prospect in selecting a policy based on his need and obtain detailed information relating to proposers/persons/risks to be insured and protection needs and give advise on the appropriate insurance cover.
Moreover, the RAPs will provide the insurer with underwriting information like age, income, family medical history, any illness suffered and any other information required for risk assessment.
They will have to assist the prospect in paying premiums and advise in effecting nomination, assignment and other policy services. Most importantly, the RAPs will have to assist in and facilitate the claim-settlement process by helping the insured person in filing the claim form correctly and collecting copy of documents like death certificate, nomination and any other document required for the speedy settlement of the claims by the insurance company.
The RAPs will have to undergo 20 hours of mandatory training and register on the Learning Management System website. The online examination of RAPs will be conducted by the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology, which is an autonomous scientific society of the government's Department of Electronics and Information Technology.
The CSC model is an initiative of the National e-Governance Plan and will operate in rural areas without access to internet. The plan provides services like e-governance, education and utility payments and works on the public-private partnership model.
Insurance companies will have to develop insurance products to be marketed exclusively through the CSC model and file the products for approval with Irda. These products will have a sum assured per life or risk of not more than R2 lakh, except for motor insurance. Analysts say the model will help insurance companies develop low-cost insurance cover and customise the products according to needs of a particular area or the insured.
A grievance redressal mechanism will have to