The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has permitted life insurers to issue all new life insurance documents to the policyholders in digital format.
This exemption would be valid for all policies issued during the financial year 2020-21 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A circular issued by IRDAI chief general manager V Jayanth Kumar on 4 August 2020 said IRDAI has exempted the life insurers from the requirement to issue policy document and copy of proposal form in physical form – after feedback received from life insurers over difficulties in printing and dispatch of policy documents and the desirability of adopting digital means of doing business in the interests of policyholders and other stakeholders.
Life insurers can, however, issue the policy in digital format only on express consent given by the policyholder. If a policyholder demands the document in physical format, it must be provided without any additional cost.
The IRDAI circular said this exemption would be subject to the following conditions:
a) Life insurer confirming the date of receipt of electronic policy document by the policyholder through ‘phone, email, text or other digital formats or other means and preserving the proof so that free look period may be calculated from that date.
b) Thirty days free look period may be allowed for all such electronic policy documents.
c) Return of electronic policy document by mail by policyholder with clear intention of cancellation of policy shall be valid for free look cancellation.
d) Express consent of the policyholder to receive electronic policy bond is required. If a policyholder insists on hard copy, the same has to be issued without any charges.
e) Policy document shall be sent to the email ID submitted by the proposer.