As the Covid-19 virus infection rate ebbs in India, many people want the insurance companies to restart the process of sending physical copies of their insurance documents along with digital copies, finds a recent survey of around 5,000 respondents across age groups and cities by Bombay Master Printers Association (BMPA). About 79 per cent of the respondents were in favour of receiving physical as well as digital copies.
Surprisingly, more than half the participants, 59 per cent, indicated that insurance companies refused to share the physical document when the policyholder requested for them. Also, almost 88 per cent said they prefer to have a physical copy of their insurance policy because they feel insurers may demand it at the time of a claim.
“Life and health insurance have even become more critical during these challenging times. Having a physical original document with the insured person gives them mental peace that they would not be harassed by the insurer during the time of claim. This survey clearly indicates that the time has come for insurance companies to restart their pre-Covid standard practice of sending physical copies,” says Mehul Desai, former president and current managing committee member of BMPA.
The policy certificate contains important details of the insurance cover. It lays out the benefits, terms and conditions, nominee details, the procedure to file for a claim if needed, and the contact details of the insurer. The policy document is expected to be received by the consumers with full details/information and not in any abridged form, which pushes consumers to seek some information at the insurance company website. The customer expects that once a policy is purchased, its complete documents should be provided in the form of a binding contract with the insurer.
The survey further indicates that over 80 per cent of the respondents want the insurance regulator, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai), to intervene and direct insurance companies to provide physical copy of policy documents to customers as a choice.
While several insurance companies had decided to ‘Go Green’ by either doing away with the physical copies of insurance policies or making it optional, even before the pandemic, many consumers believe that the same insurance companies ask them for a physical copy at the time of making a claim, along with physical copies of other necessary supporting documents.
As per Regulation 4 of IRDAI (Issuance Of E-Insurance Policies) Regulations, 2016, an insurer has to issue both physical and electronic insurance certificates to policyholders. However, as an interim measure in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, Irdai had allowed insurers to issue only electronic policy documents and had exempted them from the requirement of sending insurance policies in physical form till March 31, 2022, following two extensions.