To ensure that the services to policyholders and customers don't get interrupted due to lockdown, IRDAI has asked all the insurers to maintain the continuity of business operations.
To prevent the spread of highly-infectious Novel Coronavirus COVID-l9, stringent measures have been taken to ensure that people maintain social distancing. Accordingly, several states have enforced lockdown in some areas, which may result in some disruption in the operations of insurance companies and other entities connected with the insurance industry.
To ensure that the services to policyholders and customers don’t get interrupted, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all the insurers to maintain the continuity of business operations through possible alternate modes, including telephonic and digital contact, to overcome the barriers created by lockdowns.
IRDAI has also asked the insurance companies to display on their websites, the information on the functioning of their offices and alternate arrangements made for premium payments, renewal, settlement of claims and lodging of other service requests.
In its appeal to all insurers, insurance intermediaries and distribution channels, the insurance regulator has asked them to be sensitive to the needs of policyholders in these trying times and has also appealed to all the policyholders to cooperate.
IRDAI has permitted following relaxations, to ensure smooth operation of the affairs of insurance industry in this moment of crisis:
1. Life insurance companies have been asked to enhance the 30-day interest-free grace period for payment of renewal premiums by an additional 30 days if desired by the policyholders.
2. To ensure continuation of insurance cover during the 30-day grace period in payment of health insurance premium, health insurance companies are asked to condone delay, if any, in renewal up to 30 days without deeming such condonation as a break in policy. However, to ensure that policyholders don’t discontinue their policies, the insurers are requested to contact the policyholders well in advance.
3. Giving relief to insurance companies, it has been allowed that Board meetings due till June 30, 2020 may now be held through unconventional means like – video conferencing or other audio-visual means in accordance with Rule 3 of the Companies (Meetings of Boards and its Powers) Rules, 2014 as amended on March 19, 2020.
4. Providing further relief, insurers and insurance intermediaries have been granted additional time of 15 days for submission of monthly returns for the month of March, 2020. Similarly, an additional period up to one month will be permitted for filing of quarterly returns.