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2023 Quick Recap- IRDAI Regulations That Changed the Face of Term Insurance Amidst the Global Pandemic

After a few years of tragedies and deaths, we have finally entered 2024. The last few years have consisted of persistent grief and suffering, and the global pandemic still rages on. While earlier, the main variant of COVID-19 caused the pandemic, now the newer variant JN.1, is taking hold of the people. Each one of us is hopeful that 2024 will be the year of healing and battling the impact of the novel coronavirus.

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However, the global pandemic has reinforced the need for better digital services across the globe. Since the time the pandemic has been around, almost every industry has taken the digital route as it is simple, quick and convenient. The Indian insurance industry is no exception and IRDAI surely has left no stone unturned to provide both convenient and secured digital services to the customers. Undoubtedly, the digital transformation has surely been for good and should be continued even when the world is pandemic-free and we are back to the ‘USUAL NORMAL’.

The time-to-time interventions of the IRDAI surely made some transformations in the insurance sector. These changes by the IRDAI have allowed the customers a have a seamless buying experience. 

Note: Know more about what is term insurance first before reading this article.

Demise Due to COVID-19 Under the Term Insurance Plan

When the COVID-19 pandemic initially hit India, a lot of confusion was around the policyholders of the term insurance plan. The first thing they wanted to know was whether or not the term plan will cover death due to the coronavirus. IRDAI gave a rest to the confusion and came out openly stating that the death due to the coronavirus will be covered within term life insurance. This implies that if the insured individual passes away due to any complications related to COVID-19, then the death benefit will be paid to the dependents or the nominee after the insurance claim has been duly filed. The IRDAI's directions relieved the policy buyers and the policyholder. It is now clear that the term insurance companies cannot reject the claim that is related to COVID-19 and settle it with no hiccups as per the regulator directives.

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e-Know Your Customer (e-KYC)

During COVID-19, the IRDAI also gave the green light to the insurance companies to use the Aadhaar-based authentication services and duly complete the Know Your Customer process. This move is also seen as the commencement of paperless KYC for customers, even after the pandemic. Now, with digital KYC in place, policy buyers need not visit the insurance company's office and get into the tedious onboarding process. Besides, the new KYC process will also save time and enhance the customer experience, which will be convenient for both policy buyers and insurers.

Term Insurance Issuance via Telemedical

The IRDAI duly understood that people are not stepping out of their homes due to the fear of contracting with the deadly virus. Therefore, it permitted the insurance of term insurance plans via telemedical. Before, the individuals who intent to buy the term insurance policy had to visit the medical test to undergo physical test mandatorily.

Now that the telemedical is in place, the policy buyers need not visit the medical centre and the medical screening is easily done over the video call. In regards to life insurance, the cover of up to Rs 2 crore sum assured can be easily bought via telemedical. The customers are expected to provide all the correct information to the respective doctor over the call so that no challenge is faced during the process of claim settlement. The process of telemedical is regulated by the IRDAI and from the perspective of a customer, it is surely reliable.

Digital Policy Documents

In the times we are living currently, the safety of the policy buyers is of extreme importance. Therefore, the IRDAI has permitted the insurers to issue the policy document over an email. In case the policyholder requires the policy document in a physical form then the document needs to be issued by the insurers and no extra charges is levied. The policy documents will be secured and also improve the transparency between the insurers and customers.

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The Standard Term Plan

To bring more people within the insurance safety net, the IRDAI has asked the insurers to offer a standard product. Introducing Saral Jeevan Bima is expected to reduce the hassle for first-time buyers. The Standard Term Plan is designed for people from every section of society. The Saral Jeevan Bima will likewise be issued to the customers easily regardless of any restrictions on gender, age, income and location. The customer can easily choose a sum assured as per the premium payment capacity. The plan will be easily accessible to customers across different digital channels. This policy is going to be the game changer, and this remarkable move by the IRDAI to bring in more people within the net of life insurance.

Term Insurance Plan With the One Time Password

The COVID-19 has also drastically affected the face-to-face buying of insurance policies. The IRDAI directed the insurers to make this process easy and digital for the buyers.

As per the new directive, the new buyer can authenticate the subtleties with the one-time password verification. The authentication will be carried out with the help of the link that the insurers send to the customers. The authentication through OTP will be the replacement for the wet signatures. The change will permit the insurers to send the entire proposal form to the mobile number or email of the buyer. The buyer of the policy simply needs to click on the confirmation link and validate the OTP shared. This has reduced the hassles of buying the policy and made the process easier.

Wrapping it Up!

The developments introduced by the IRDAI have surely changed the complete landscape of the Indian insurance industry for a better future. Undoubtedly, the announcements have benefited the customers and have made the process easy for the insurers as well as the customers. Now, customers can protect the future of their loved ones against COVID-19 as well.

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