Paperless health insurance: Processing and issuance time for paperless health insurance policies extended by IRDAI

Due to the current Covid situation in the country, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has authorized health and general insurance companies to continue to issue health insurance policies in electronic form and without insisting on a physically signed proposal form until March 31st. 2022.

Many people struggled to purchase new health insurance policies during the pandemic due to lockdown restrictions. To remove this obstacle to obtaining new policies, the insurance regulator had authorized health and damage insurance companies to obtain the consent of policyholders electronically or digitally on September 10, 2020.

Initially, the wet signature exemption on the hard copy of an insurance policy was valid until March 31, 2021, however, in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic, IRDAI extended it until March 31, 2021. until September 30, 2021. However, with the pandemic still prevalent in many parts of the country, the regular extended the exemption until March 31, 2022.

IRDAI made the last extension announcement via a circular on September 14, 2021. “Given the persistent situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, in partial modification of article n ° 5 of the circular referred to on 10 September 2020 the deadlines for (a) Electronic policy issuance and (b) waiver of physical signatures and wet signature on the health insurance policies application form, are extended until March 31, 2022 ” , specifies the IRDAI circular.

Last year, the insurance regulator established guidelines for issuing health insurance policies without a wet signature on the hard copy of the proposal form. He mandated the insurers to send the policy document and the application form digitally / electronically to the registered email id or mobile phone number of the customer. The insurance companies have also been instructed by IRDAI to simultaneously inform the customer by SMS of the sending of the contract and the proposal form in digital / electronic mode.

In order to obtain consent from potential customers, the insurance regulator has authorized insurers to obtain it digitally or electronically. If the applicant agreed, they had to give their consent by confirming it by following the link or via a one-time password (OTP).

While this digital initiative was launched primarily due to the compulsion to provide customers with an alternate window to purchase a new insurance policy during the pandemic, however, there is now a demand for this feature to be made permanent.

“The extension of the deadline for paperless processing of health insurance policies is a validation of customer acceptance and success of this initiative at the right time and is useful for both policyholders and insurers. Based on this experience, the regulator should seek to make it a permanent feature, ”says Roopam Asthana, CEO and full-time director, Liberty General Insurance.

Shanai Ghosh, ED and CEO, Edelweiss General Insurance also supports this point of view and says, “This is a good and welcome decision on the part of the regulator. Physical documents are a thing of the past; the India stack enabled most documents to be digitized. I hope to see this decision become a permanent rule, in the interest of the consumer.


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Justin D. O'Neill

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