INSURANCE REGULATORY AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF INDIA

Ref. No:IRDAI/HLT/REG/CIR/235/09/2020

Date:10-09-2020

To,

All General and Health Insurers,

Re: (a) Issuance of Electronic Policies and (b) dispensing with physical documents and wet signature on the proposal form in respect of health insurance policies.

1) This has reference to the provisions of;

a) Regulation 4 of IRDAI (Issuance of e-Insurance policies) Regulations,2016.

b) Regulation 18 read with Regulation 8 (1) of IRDAI (Protection of Policyholders’ Interests) Regulations, 2017.

2) In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the Authority has received representations from the insurance companies for exemption to all individual / retail health insurance policies issued by general and health insurance companies (the insurers) from the requirement to issue physical policy document and hard copy of proposal form.

Issue of electronic health insurance policies:

3) In exercise of powers vested with Regulation 4 (iii) of IRDAI (Issuance of e-Insurance Policies) Regulations, 2016, IRDAI hereby grants exemption for issue of electronic health insurance policies, subject to the following.

i) Insurers shall send the policy document and a copy of the proposal form through digital/electronic mode. They shall be sent to the registered e-mail id or mobile number provided by the customer only on the specific consent provided by the policyholder.

ii) Simultaneously the policyholders shall be informed through SMS that policy document /copy of the proposal form have been sent to their e-mail id or any other digital / electronic mode (as may be the case).

iii) Insurers shall put in place proper mechanism to ensure that the documents are delivered to the designated e-mail Id / mobile number of the policyholder and an acknowledgement is appropriately obtained / auto-collected on delivery.

iv) When documents are forwarded by electronic means, the mechanism of policyholder having received the document or the electronic platform having delivered the documents shall be maintained. It shall be clearly informed to the policyholder that the date of delivery of the document is reckoned for the purpose of considering any applicable free look requests.

v) Insurers shall preserve the records of such acknowledgements for further reference.

vi) The policy document sent electronically shall contain all the schedules, terms and conditions, benefits etc that are otherwise available in the physical document.

vii) Policyholders shall be also informed that printing of physical policy document and dispatch of the same along with the copy of proposal form may be delayed due to operational difficulties in the wake of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

viii) The policy document sent electronically is as valid as the physical policy contract / document. Wherever the policy holder demands the physical version of the policy document / copy of the proposal, the same shall be made available.

ix) Wherever policy documents could not be sent through electronic means due to any reasons, the companies shall compulsorily forward the physical documents to the policyholders.

Dispensing of wet signature on proposal form for Health Insurance Policies:

4) In terms of Regulation 8 (1) of IRDAI (Protection of Policyholders’ Interests) Regulations, 2017, where proposal forms are collected, Insurers are also allowed to obtain the customer’s consent without requiring wet signature on the hard copy of the proposal form subject to following:

a) The completed proposal form shall be sent to the prospect on his / her registered e-mail ID or mobile number by means of a message with a link, as the case may be.

b) If the proposer wishes to give consent to the proposal, the same may be permitted by providing a link for confirmation or through One Time Password (OTP) duly validated.

c) Insurers shall maintain verifiable, legally valid evidence for the proposer’s consent received for the fully completed proposal form.

d) Insurers shall be responsible for the following:

i. Providing approved digital sales material to insurance agents / intermediaries and ensure that only that material is used while soliciting the business;

ii. Authenticating the e-mail IDs / mobile numbers of the proposers including through de-duplication of the data and such other means;

iii. Ensuring the suitability of the product being sold.

5) The above exemptions shall be valid till 31.3.2021.

6) This has the approval of the competent authority.

D V S Ramesh

GENERAL MANAGER (HEALTH)

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