Move your insurance policy details to the virtual world for real benefits

Oct 14 2013, 08:26 IST
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The recent guidelines allowing customers to hold their insurance policy in electronic form across insurance categories. The recent guidelines allowing customers to hold their insurance policy in electronic form across insurance categories.
SummaryAs policy holder, one can purchase and keep all policies in eIA with any one of Insurance Repositories.

The non-life insurance sector has been witness to far reaching innovative practices by insurance companies, especially since the privatisation of the sector in 2000. These include introduction of a wide range of customer-friendly products, simplification and standardisation of insurance policy wordings, in-house claim settlement for quicker and more efficient claims handling and adoption of online models, among others.

The recent guidelines allowing customers to hold their insurance policy in electronic form across insurance categories i.e. health, motor, etc is another step in this direction. While some companies have already introduced paper-less policies for the benefit of their customers, the new guidelines will ensure that the entire industry adopts these best practices.

With the increased adoption of the online medium, customers will now have another convenient medium to access their insurance policies. This will be in addition to the existing communication channels that each insurer has built with their customers over the years.

To benefit from the paper-less policy initiative, an insurance policy holder simply needs to open an e-insurance account (eIA) with one of the five repositories that have been selected for the purpose. These repositories will facilitate the opening of the account, which will hold all the policies in electronic form. The customer will not have to pay any fees, since the cost of opening the account will be borne by the general insurance company.

As a policy holder, one can purchase and keep all the policies in eIA with any one of the Insurance Repositories. The existing policies in physical mode too can be dematerialised and held in eIA.

This significant measure opens up a host of benefits for customers. These are not limited to insurance but complement the benefits that they were enjoying in other financial products ó bank accounts, mutual funds, among others.

Safety

There is no risk of loss or damage to a policy as is common with paper policies. The electronic form ensures that the policy is in safe custody and can be accessed from any place and at any time.

Convenience

All insurance policies, be it health, motor, etc will be electronically stored in a single e-Insurance Account and can be accessed at any time by logging on to the online portal of the insurance repository. In addition, all changes, modifications and revisions in the policies can be undertaken with speed and accuracy. It is worthwhile to note that a few insurance companies have already been providing online access and self service options to their customers.

Single point of service

One can submit service requests for any of the electronic policies at any of the customer service points of a particular Insurance repository. For example, with an eIA account, a change of address request made to the Insurance Repository will now make it possible to update all policies of the customer even if those are issued by multiple insurers. Thus a customer would not be required to visit offices of multiple insurers.

One time KYC

With e-Insurance, policy holders will no longer need to submit Know Your Customer or KYC details every time they purchase a new policy.

Online Payment facility

Customers can now pay the premium for all policies online irrespective of whether the individual insurer offers the facility.

Enhanced network of Customer

Service centers

Given that the Insurance Repositories will function in addition to insurers, policyholders will benefit from an increased number of touch points for having their servicing needs addressed.

Easy payout transfers

With an e-account, policy benefits would be paid to the beneficiary through electronic facility to the registered bank account. This will ensure a speedier and convenient settlement. For example, No Claim Bonus amount will be automatically credited to the customerís account.

For insurance companies as well, paper-less policies will allow them to streamline their processes and eliminate instances of physical movement of policy documents. This will, in turn, enable them to further enhance their service standards thus benefiting customers.

While the benefits are immense, the industry needs to arrive at solutions for some instances when a physical copy would be required to be furnished e.g. motor policy being sought by a traffic policeman when the vehicle is on the road.

The shift to paper-less policies marks an important milestone for the general insurance industry and its customers.†It is clear that for the customer, the benefits are immense and far reaching.

Author is ED, ICICI Lombard.Views expressed are personal.

How eia works

To benefit from the paper-less policy initiative, an insurance policy holder simply needs to open an e-insurance account (eIA) with one of the five repositories that have been selected for the purpose. These repositories will facilitate the opening of the account, which will hold all the policies in electronic form

A policyholder can purchase and keep all the policies in eIA with any one of the Insurance Repositories. The existing policies in physical mode too can be dematerialised and held in eIA

With an eIA account, a change of address request made to the Insurance Repository will now make it possible to update all policies of the customer even if those are issued by multiple insurers

Policy benefits would be paid to the beneficiary through electronic facility to the registered bank account. For example, No Claim Bonus amount will be automatically credited to customerís account

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