IRDAI assures fast track treatment for COVID-19 product proposals

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Representational image

Insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has assured insurers it will process on a fast-track mode applications seeking approval for products that cover risks arising out of COVID-19.

“Insurers are strongly encouraged to devise appropriate insurance products that would provide protection from risks arising out of Covid-19. The Authority is committed to process such product approval applications on a fast track mode,” K.Ganesh, Member (Life) of the IRDAI, said issuing COVID-19 related instructions to insurers.

On servicing and claims of existing policyholders, the regulator said claims arising on account of COVID-19 should be processed expeditiously. It wanted insurers to adopt simplified, expedited claim procedures for such cases. Other claims should also be processed within the prescribed period by making special efforts.

With regard to timeline for issue of policy documents, it said as a special case an additional 30 days is allowed for insurers to dispatch documents for policies issued between March 15 and April 30. Also, an additional 21 days is being allowed to redress all complaints during the same, one and half month period as against the normal response time of 15 days, due to the prevailing lockdown situation.

However, this additional response time is not applicable to complaints pertaining to COVID-19 for which the extant timelines will continue to apply. It directed insurers to prominently display on their websited a dedicated helpline number for policyholders and another helpline number for other stakeholders including agents and intermediaries.

Adequate staffing

The IRDAI communication said though insurance has been exempted from the lockdown, insurance companies and other regulated entities are advised to operate their offices with absolutely necessary staff to maintain essential insurance services, including claims settlement, authorisation for hospitalisation and renewal of insurance policies.

Calling for a Business Continuity Plan to be put in place by insurers, the regulator said the Plan among others should pertain to processes, transactions, reporting and customer services to be handled in a seamless manner to take care of the situation. Insurers also need to set up a Crisis Management Committee, comprising key personnel, to monitor the situation on a real time basis and to take appropriate, timely decisions on issues, including those about safety of staff, policyholders, intermediaries and agents.

The Crisis Management Committee should provide regular inputs to the Risk Management Committee of the insurer. Cyber risks were likely to accentuate due to enhanced remote working, the IRDAI said, advising insurers to take precautionary measures to address cyber risks.

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Printable version | Oct 8, 2022 3:18:55 am |