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Who Should be Your Nominee for Your Term Insurance?

A term life insurance product secures the financial needs of your dependents. It protects you and your family members. In case of the unfortunate demise of the policyholder, a lump sum is paid as compensation to the nominee.

The lump sum, known as the sum assured, is a pre-determined amount. Hence, it is mandatory to mention the nominee in your proposal form. If you are purchasing an insurance policy with a death benefit, you should include the nominee without fail.

Importance of nominee

The policyholder decides the nominee. When you subscribe to an online term insurance, you must include the details of the nominee as well. The nominee may be a family member. Your mother, father, wife/husband, son or daughter can be included as a nominee. In some cases, the term insurance policyholder can nominate relatives such as a nephew, uncle and aunt. However, the policyholder should fulfill the necessary documentation to include distant relatives. It is very important to prove the insurance interest if you choose a distant relative or friend. If you fail to establish this satisfactorily, the company may reject your application.

Benefits of nomination facility

Through the nomination facility, the policyholder will appoint a nominee or nominees to receive the death benefit while processing a death claim. The sum assured plus the applicable bonuses will be paid along with the death claim.

  • Serves the purpose of insurance – The nomination facility serves the main purpose of the life insurance. The insurance contract protects the interests of the policyholder. In case of the unfortunate demise of the policyholder, the beneficiary i.e. the nominee receives the financial benefit. The contract ends after the payment of the death benefit.
  • Ability to nominate any person – The policyholder can choose any person as a nominee. The policyholder should ideally choose a responsible person in whom he/she has absolute trust in fulfilling the requirements of the family in his/her absence. If the policyholder can prove the insurable interest, it is possible to select a friend or a distant relative as a nominee.
  • Multiple people for nomination – The policyholder can choose multiple persons as nominees. If nominee A does not survive the policy term, then nominee B receives the death benefit.
  • Sharing of death benefit – The death benefit can be shared among the nominees. The policyholder can allocate the death benefit to more than one nominee in which case the death benefit will be shared as per the allocation.
  • Cancellation of nominee – The cancellation of or changes in nominees can be made any number of times.
  • Nomination details on the insurance cover – The nomination details are presented on the insurance policy document. The legal obligations are fulfilled with the presence of the nominee named on the insurance document.

Nominee particulars

The following details of the nominee should be submitted to the insurance company:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Address
  • Relationship between the policyholder and the nominee

Official documents pertaining to the above details should be submitted to the insurance company.

Multiple nominations

You can opt for multiple nominees so that the nominees will share the financial benefit equally. It is also possible to share the benefit as per the percentage chosen by the policyholder. You should be aware of the insurance company’s policies so that the option can be exercised as per your needs.

If the nominee’s age is less than 18 years, the policyholder should provide an appointee. A minor is not eligible to receive the amount and it should be paid to the appointee as declared by the policyholder.

Change in nominee

The policyholder has the provision to make changes in the nominee’s details. S/He can even change the nominee during the policy term. S/He can obtain the nomination form from the insurance company either online or offline. The filled-in nomination form should be submitted to the insurance company so that the nomination details can be efficiently updated.

The policyholder should get a written acknowledgement from the insurance company to avoid any discrepancy when processing the claims. When the nominee name is updated, the latest particulars will override the previous information. There is no restriction on changing the nominee during the policy term.

If the nominee dies before the policy term, the change of nominee should be fulfilled by the policyholder. It is the policyholder’s responsibility to update the nominee’s particulars as per the changes in the status of the nominee.

No nomination found

If the nomination details are not provided by the policyholder or the nominee dies during the policy term and the nominee’s details are not updated with the insurance company, the following rules are applied:

The insurance company will dispatch the claim amount to the Class I legal heir. The following persons are described as Class I legal heirs:

  • Insured’s spouse
  • Insured’s son
  • Insured’s father
  • Insured’s mother

If the policyholder leaves a will, the following procedure is followed:

  • The process as per the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
  • The claim amount is distributed as per the terms of the will.
  • The court issues the succession certificate and based on the court’s decision, the claim amount will be handed over by the insurance company.
  • The insurance company may demand an indemnity bond, joint discharge statement or waiver of legal evidence.

Nomination oversight

The following errors or mistakes are committed by policyholder, that can create trouble while processing and paying the death benefit to the nominee:

  • Nominee not informed – The nominee should know about the insurance policy. The policyholder should inform the nominee about the policy and share the policy documents with him/her. If the nominee is unaware, he will fail to submit the insurance claim to the insurance company. Even if the insurance company tries to identify the nominee based on the details provided, it is unwise for the policyholder to not inform the nominee about the insurance policy on his/her name.
  • Details not updated – The policyholder fails to update the nominee’s details. The address and other information of the nominee should be updated periodically. If the nominee dies during the term, the change in nominee should be updated immediately. The policyholder can change the nominee at any time and there are no restrictions on the number of changes.
  • Minor nominee – The policyholder appoints a minor nominee (nominee’s age is less than 18 years) and fails to provide the information of the appointee. If the policyholder must appoint a minor as his/her nominee, he/she should take steps to select an appointee as well. The policyholder should provide complete and verified details of the appointee. If the policyholder fails to provide the required information about the appointee, the minor will not get the financial benefit. The appointee receives the financial benefit until the minor attains 18 years of age.
  • Appointment of one nominee – The policyholder fails to provide more than one nominee in the nomination forms. If an unfortunate event befalls the nominee and the policyholder fails to update the nomination form, the claim processing and transferring the death benefit will hit a roadblock. The insurance company will then continue the process by identifying the legal heir and completing the necessary legal formalities. These unnecessary hassles can be avoided by choosing more than one nominee. The percentage of allocation should be mentioned in the nomination form so that the claim will be processed quickly and death benefit will be distributed as per the ratio.
  • Not aware of nominee’s rights - Nominees assume that they have absolute rights on the death claim. If there is difference between the nominee details and the person mentioned in the will, the will takes higher precedence. If the policyholder would like to provide absolute rights to the nominee, a will should be prepared and the nominee should be included in the will.

Nomination vs. assignment

The nomination facility gives the nominee the right to collect the death benefit. The nomination is the authorization to receive the money and this authorization is provided by the policyholder. The nomination can be cancelled or changed as many times as per the needs of the policyholder.

The right of the policyholder can also be passed on to an assignee. The assignment of the policy can be done on the policy or through a separate deed. If you assign a policy, it cannot be revoked again.

A Final Word

The nomination facility protects the interests of the insured as well as the insurer. The insurance company will deliver the death benefit as per the information presented in the nomination form. If there is a change in the nominee’s particulars such as name and address, the details should be updated immediately.