The world is moving towards using less paper and to electronic records, especially financial records. Preserving physical copies of important documents is always a difficult task. They are prone to damage by weather elements, natural calamities and even accidents. Shortly you can get and maintain your insurance policies in electronic form through e-Insurance Account (eIA). Recently Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) has issued guidelines relating to insurance repositories and electronic issuance of insurance policies. With this you can now;
- Maintain, store and retrieve your policies and the information in them easily
- You can modify or revise your insurance policies with speed and accuracy
- It will help increase efficiency and transparency
- It will reduce the cost of issuing and maintaining insurance policies
IRDA is now contemplating to bring Insurance policy document digital and paperless like shares From April, 2014 onwards which would be saved from preserving the physical copies and this is going to be applicable for every new insurance policy sold. The Regulator even planning to announce a roadmap to make such facilities mandatory, by which insurance companies will have to compulsorily issue policies to their customers only in electronic form.
e-Insurance Account (eIA) will have a unique Account number and each account holder will be granted a unique Login ID and Password to access the electronic policies online. An individual cannot open multiple e-Insurance accounts. An e-Insurance account holder or policyholder is required to fill the e-Insurance account form and submit KYC documents. Opening an e-Insurance account is free of cost and policy holders can also move from one insurance repository to another. As per the objective of eIA, it is going to benefit policyholder for holding/accessing account from anywhere, conveniences, service on demand, single KYC and aggregate view of all policies.
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has issued licenses to five entities to act as Insurance Repository.
- NSDL Data Management Limited
- Central Insurance Repository Limited
- SHCIL Projects Limited
- Karvy Insurance repository Limited
- CAMS Repository Services Limited
These companies will maintain data of insurance policies in electronic form for insurers and will open e-Insurance accounts for policyholders.
What is an Insurance Repository?
An Insurance Repository is a facility to help policy holders buy and keep insurance policies in electronic form, rather than as a paper document. Insurance Repositories, like Share Depositories or Mutual Fund Transfer Agencies, will hold electronic records of insurance policies issued to individuals and such policies are called “electronic policies” or “e Policies”.
How to open an eInsurance Account (eIA)?
To open an eIA, you need the fill out an account opening application form of the Insurance Repository along with the necessary supporting documents. Application Forms will be available in all offices of the Insurance Repository, once they are operational. These forms can be downloaded from the respective website or you can fill out an application online at the website. You can submit the signed eIA application form at any Insurance Repository office. If you are applying to open an eIA at the time of buying a new Insurance Policy, it may be best to hand over the eIA form, along with the insurance proposal form, to the Insurance Company.
To open an eIA, you need to necessarily have either a PAN or Aadhar number. When submitting your eIA application, please ensure that you provide copies of your PAN or Aadhar, Address Proof and proof of date of birth, along with a passport size photograph. You also need to show the original of address proof for verification.
How to convert your existing Insurance Policy (Physical Copy) into electronic form?
On opening an eIA, you just need to write out a request, addressed to the Insurer, for converting your existing paper policy to electronic mode. Request Forms for policy conversion are available in all offices of the respective Insurance Repositories. These forms also can also be downloaded from respective websites. You need to fill out a separate request for each paper policy that you wish to convert to electronic form. These requests, duly signed, can be submitted at the respective Insurance Company or at any Insurance Repository office.
Also note, as a policy holder you can choose the form in which you want your policies issued in paper or electronic form. A policy can be bought or maintained in one form only – either in electronic form or paper but not in both.
Of course there is an obvious question may arise i.e. How can Insurance Repository provide free service to policy holders? Where is the catch? And the answer is; here the Insurance Repositories will be paid directly by the Insurance Companies whose policies are held in electronic form in the respective Insurance Repository so that no charges are levied on policy holders. Insurance Companies will be able to pay these fees out of the savings that will accrue to them by the migration to issuance and maintenance of policies in electronic form.
Are you going to open an e-Insurance Account or your newly purchased insurance policy offered you to have it in electronic form? Share your experience.