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 — bank accounts, mutual funds, among others.
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.
All insurance policies, be it health, motor, etc will be electronically stored in