Launch of e-repositories will make it much easier for customers to manage policies

erepositories

Mr. Sharma had a traditional insurance policy for which he was to get regular paybacks every three years for the next 15 years. While he got Rs 75,000 after three years he could not claim it in the sixth year as he had misplaced an important document that the company wanted. Eventually he did get that money after a year but it involved a lot of to and fro which was harassing for him as well as his family.

A lot has been said about the importance of having all policy documents in place for the ease of claim settlements or receiving payouts. Losing any document can prove to be a big problem in claiming the insurance amount hence rendering the entire investment futile. Fortunately, the Indian insurance regulator, IRDA, in 2013, announced the launch of e-repositories, a facility which will help the customers maintain all policy details in a digital format, hence making it much easier for them to keep their policy documents in place.

These e-repositories or dematerialization of insurance will eventually enable the customers to keep all their insurance policies from multiple insurance companies under one e-account in electronic form. This is to say that if you have a health insurance policy from a general insurance company and a term insurance policy from a life insurance company, you will not need to maintain two separate policies but will be able to manage and track both investments by logging into your unique e-account. This will help in easy portfolio tracking and also in eliminating multiple KYCs.

In an event of a claim arising, both the customer and the insurer will have the convenience of accessing the policy details at the click of a button, thus expediting the claim settlement procedure.

Implementation of e-KYC will not only speed up service delivery but also eliminate the risk of identity fraud and document forgery. Insurers will be able to conduct KYC checks and complete the process without asking the customer to submit any physical documentation or show the originals for verification. Since this service will make the process electronic, there will also be reduction in the requirement of storage of paper documents.

The service of e-repositories will be offered to all the insurance customers free of cost. Any customer who is registered with the UIDAI and has an aadhar card can avail of this facility.

The IRDA has handpicked 5 companies to act as e-repositories agents for insurance companies. Basis their preference, the customers will be able to choose the company they want to associate with and then will have to share the details of their policies with the company. Post this, all the data will be maintained and updated by the company on a real time basis.

The company will provide the customer a link through which they will be able to access the details of their insurance policies in terms of the next date of premium payment, fund value, maturity date etc for their entire insurance portfolio at the click of a button.

Additionally, for any queries regarding the policies, the customers will have the option of being served by these agencies and the insurer. Significantly, dematerialisation of policies will help insurance companies improve service standards, including delivery of documents, managing policies, etc. It will also help in checking frauds and false claims.

Lastly, in addition to strengthening the industry infrastructure, these e-repositories will also help insurance companies identify customers with specific insurance needs which will in turn promote need based selling.