Earlier the concept of E Insurance was piloted in paperless form through insurance repositories. However, it did not received a encouraging response and not even 10 per cent of the total number of policies in the industry has been digitized due to both the reluctance of some industry players because of costs involved and the customers, who still prefer physical policy documentation.
Keeping in mind the situation the regulator is mulling on making digitised policies mandatory for insurance with a premium of above Rs 50,000. Industry sources said that revised guidelines on insurance repositories will be brought out by Irdai to make it mandatory for insurance be in electronic format from June-July onward.
Even LIC, has not yet begun to offer e-policies to all its customers. A senior LIC executive explained that the insurer would have to spend several crores of rupees for this initiative, and ultimately it will be the policyholders who will have to bear the costs. “We have not taken it up due to the costs involved. Also, we have not had customers even requesting us for this facility,” the executive said.
An Insurance Repository (IR) is a facility to help policy holders buy and keep insurance policies in electronic form, rather than as a paper document. These repositories, like share depositories or mutual fund transfer agencies, would hold electronic records of insurance policies issued to individuals.
Such policies are called “electronic policies”, e-policies for short. The government has mandated five companies to act as repositories, include NSDL Database Management Limited, Central Insurance Repository Limited, CAMS Repository Services Limited, SHCIL Projects Limited and Karvy Insurance Repository Limited.
Ways on how to digitize the policy:
- A customer goes to a repository website and enters his/her information. An e-Insurance account is created free of cost (where the insurer pays for these expenses).
- In the new forms, there is a tick-mark option on the policy form for offering a digital policy and e-Insurance account creation.
- An e-Account number is generated for each customer, which is a unique id. Each user can only open one account.
- All KYC related information is fed into the account. When new policy is bought, only e-Insurance account number to be quoted; no separate KYC document needed.
- All future policy details are immediately sent from an insurer to the insurance repository.
- All payments and policy-details can be viewed.
- Agents can also view details of policies that they have sourced on this common platform.
- Premium reminders, renewals, fund-value and other details can be viewed.
- If a customer has any queries, the same e-Insurance account can be used to communicate with the insurer.