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Sunday 26 March 2017
News updated at 10:31 PM IST

Insurance biz heading to e-route

Uma Kannan, Feb 26, 2017, Bengaluru, DHNS
With wider reach of insurance products and the convenience of dematerialisation of policies, insurance repositories (IR) are slowly gaining prominence, and the industry is shifting to the electronic mode.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) granted IR licences in 2013, to five companies, of which, one exited from the business. These repositories maintain data of insurance policies in electronic form on behalf of insurers.

One of the repositories is NSDL NIR (National Insurance Repository), and its Senior Vice President Sameer Gupte said, “The insurance repository is envisaged to cater to the lacunae of holding a policy in physical form and helps the policyholder with a consolidated view of its policies.”

“In case of any claim, there is no need to look out for the original insurance policy, as it can be easily accessed through the e-Insurance Account (eIA). Also, in electronic format, there is no need to submit any additional KYC document, every time one buys a policy,” says CAMS Insurance Repository Services CEO S V Ramanan, adding that if an individual opens an eIA, he/she can request online for all policies to be converted into electronic form.

NSDL NIR is working closely with insurers so that policies are issued in electronic form instead of printing and dispatching of physical policies. “Repository services are also offered to the customer through a network of approved persons. NIR has 70 approved persons providing services from over 8,500 service centres,” Gupte said.

Talking about monetisation, Ramanan said that insurers will pay insurance repositories from their savings. “These are early days for the concept, and the revenue from this stream is negligible,” he said.

Close to three lakh people have eIA with CAMS. “The opportunity is still large and we look forward to more people adopting to the digital way of life insurance,” he said.

Insurance repositories are not devoid of any challenges, and Gupte pointed out that insurance is a push product and the agent/sales force is the face of the industry.

“Though incorrect, it seems that the agent/sales force of this industry has a notion that with the advent of electronic policy and insurance repository, it will reduce its touch with the customer, and thus agents are hesitant to push the IR initiative. This needs to be addressed.”

Both opine that with increased benefits to all stake holders, it is evident that IR will become a way of life in the near future.

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