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Finance minister P.Chidambaram recently asked IRDA, the insurance regulatory body to make the digitization of insurance policies mandatory across the life and general insurance segments. Chidambaram quoted that all policies, life and non-life, should be digitized and put on a repository system. Digitization was initially proposed for the life insurance. But it will be extended to health and motor insurance too by January 2014. Simply put, digitization of insurance policies implies that the policies will be stored in an electronic format so as to facilitate the storage, retrieval and modification of the documents via online platforms. Insurance repositories are expected to implement digitization by January 2014. These e-insurance services will first be applied to life insurance sector and then will be extended to general insurance sector.
Digitization will bring a multitude of benefits to both parties, the insured and the insurer.
- It will make the policyholder free of the worry of losing the physical policy documents
- It will make it possible for the policyholder to pay premium and renew policies online
- For the insurers, this initiative is expected to bring down the policy issuing and managing costs
- It is expected to increase the efficiency and effectivity of insurance services
- Any change or update can be done fast and easy via e-insurance account
- It is an eco-friendly initiative as the paperwork will be reduced
As of now, IRDA has appointed five companies as the official insurance repositories under Insurance Repository System (IRS) - NSDL Database Management Limited, Central Insurance Repository Limited, SHCIL Projects Limited, CAMS Repository Services Limited and Karvy Insurance Repository. Digitization will work in a very simple manner. Every policyholder will be assigned an e-insurance account via which he will be able to access the policy documents anytime, anywhere in the world and even download a copy, as and when needed.
The best thing about the initiative is that the digitization won’t come as an additional financial burden on the policyholder. The insurance companies are going to pay directly to the insurance repositories for their services without incurring any fraction of the cost on the policyholders.
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