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Insurance policy documents for all new plans will come in the electronic form from April 2014. Over 25 crore policyholders owning close to 37 crore policies will get their e-insurance in a phased manner. Insurance regulatory, IRDA will soon make e-insurance compulsory, after which companies will have to issue policy documents in the electronic form. This article explains how to have Insurance policies in electronic form by having electronic Insurance account,how to open the account,about  insurance repository , how to open the account, which insurance repository to go with

What is the Electronic Insurance Policies?

Just like certificate of securities like shares, bonds and mutual funds can be created in the electronic form and stored in one’s demat account, one can store insurance policies electronically and keep them in one’s separate and distinct e‐insurance account(EIA) with an insurance repository.

Please note Holding an insurance policy electronically is not the same as buying online. Only insurance policies that are designed for online sale can be bought online. Union Finance Minister, Shri. P Chidambaram, formally launched the Insurance Repository System (IR) on 16th Sept, 2013.

How to hold Insurance Polices in Electronic Form?

In order to hold e insurance policies a separate and distinct e‐insurance account(EIA) shall be opened with insurance repositories for keeping insurance policies in electronic form.

  •  A eIA shall be opened by a person who has insurance policies on his own or who proposes to take insurance policies
  •  A eIA can be opened for a minor by his legal and natural guardian, who proposes the life of minor for taking a life insurance policy

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority or Irda has registered five companies to act as insurance repositories: NSDL Database Management Ltd, Central Insurance Repository Ltd, SHCIL Projects Ltd, Karvy Insurance Repository Ltd and CAMS Repository Services Ltd.  As an insurance repository, these companies will maintain data of insurance policies in electronic form for insurers and will open e-Insurance accounts for policyholders.

What kind of insurance policies can one keep in Electronic Insurance Account?

The account will allow you to hold all insurance policies such as life, health, car and others at one place.The following classes of insurance policies are eligible to be held in the electronic form :

  • All individual life insurance policies including health and pension policies including those issued to groups issued by registered life insurance companies with IRDA
  • All general insurance policies held by individuals including groups policies
  • Any other class of insurance policies that may be notified by IRDA under these Guidelines from  time to time

Both new and existing life, annuities, health and general insurance policies can all be credited to this account. However, during the initial phase, the life insurance policies would be credited to this account. The general insurance and group insurance policies would be credited subsequently.

What are costs of opening Electronic Insurance Account?

Opening an e-Insurance account is free of cost and you can also move from one insurance repository to another. The insurance companies will recoup their costs from the savings in policy issuance and delivery.

What are benefits of opening Electronic Insurance Account?

  • If your policies are stored in the electronic form, you would no longer have to worry about losing your insurance documents.
  • You can transact online, which means you can pay policy premiums or send service requests such as switching investment funds in a unit-linked insurance plan. This adds another layer to the convenience that e-Insurance account will bring.
  • It will become easier to track your policies as the details will be available at one place. You won’t have to go to different offices anymore.
  • It will be easier for your nominee to track your insurance details when required
  • Your paperwork will reduce. With the repository as the single point of service, updating details like change of address or nomination will become easier, faster and more reliable.
  • E-insurance policies will help insurers to save costs on printing and dispatching policies. Insurance companies will save crores of rupees every year that is spent on storing of physical insurance documents and repeat KYC.
  • It will reduce misselling because the agent will not be able to keep the new insurance policy till the expiry of the 15-day free-look period.

How to open Electronic Insurance Account?

An e-Insurance account holder or policyholder is required to

  1. Fill the e-Insurance account form of the selected insurance repository (available in their office or downloaded from their website)
  2. Submit
    • Photo ID,
    • Recent passport size photograph,
    • Cancelled Cheque ( In case of ECS/NEFT services for insurance premium payment transaction) and
    • Address proof

to the office of Insurance Repository or Insurance company or authorized Approved Person (AP) appointed by Insurance Repository.You can also contact your Insurance Advisor (Agent) for an application form.

An e-Insurance account will be opened within 7 days from the date of submission of application complete in all respects.  Each e Insurance account holder will get a unique eIA Number, unique Login ID and Password to access his account and electronic policy details.

Once a year, a hard copy of your Statement of Insurance (SOI) with full details of all policies held under your eIA shall be sent to your postal address.

In addition, a SOI giving the details of all policies held by you shall be sent to you by email whenever you make a financial transaction with respect to any of your electronic policies (including when you buy additional insurance or one of your policies matures or is surrendered)

You can also access your policy and eIA details by logging on to IR website and download a suite of reports and statements.

When can I open eIA account?

If you are planning to buy a new insurance policy any time soon, it’s best to opt for an electronic policy, open an e IA at the same time, hand over the eIA form, along with the insurance proposal form, to the Insurance Company. and

If you already have insurance policies, you can convert your existing policies into electronic mode by submitting a request for conversion along with the application for opening an eIA. (You can submit the requests later also)

An individual who is not having any insurance policy can open an e-Insurance account. After buying a policy, the policyholder can give a request for dematerialization to the Insurer or Insurance Repository or Approved Person.

If I have an e-Insurance account, how do I buy a new policy in electronic form?

Once you have opened an e Insurance Account, to buy a new policy in electronic form, you just need  to quote your unique eIA Number in your new insurance proposal form, with a request to issue policy in electronic form. Since KYC documents had already been submitted and verified when you opened your eIA, the Insurer won’t do KYC again, provided there has been no change to your KYC details, making the process simpler and convenient.

How do you make changes in a policy once you have eIA account?

The insurance repository is the single point of service for all your requirements, so you will need to submit your request to it. If the change is at the account level (address or contact details), the repository will execute it after due verification and then intimate the insurance company. If the change is at the policy level (nomination, sum assured or account details), the repository will forward the request to the insurance company.

Which  are the Insurance repositories (IRs)?

 Irda has registered five companies to act as insurance repositories (IR) .For depositing the policy, the insurance company needs to have tied up with that respective insurance repository. From the websites of the insurance repositories insurance companies that are tied up are as follows:

Name of insurance repository Website  Insurance Companies tied with
NMDL Database Management www.nir.ndml.in
  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited
  • HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited
  • PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited
  • Star Union Dai-chi Life Insurance Company Limited
  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited
  • Reliance Life Insurance Company Limited
  • Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Limited
Central Insurance Repository www.cirl.co.in
SHCIL Projects www.shcilir.com
Karvy Insurance Repository http://www.kinrep.com/
  • Bharti AXA,
  • DLF Prameica ,
  • Future Generali,
  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited,
  • Edelweiss Tokio,
  • TATA AIG Insurance
CAMS Repository Services www.camsrepository.com
  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited,
  • PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited,
  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited
  • Reliance Life Insurance Company Limited,
  • Kotak Life Insurance

Can you open multiple accounts?

No. You can’t open multiple accounts. IRDA stipulates that an individual can have only ONE e Insurance Account across Repositories, irrespective of the number of policies owned by a policy holder – thus, if a person has an eIA with CAMSRep, he CAN NOT open another eIA either with CAMSRep or with any other Insurance Repository.

Who is an Authorized Representative (AR)?

A policy holder who opens an eIA shall appoint an Authorized Representative (AR) who shall be entitled to access the account in the event of demise of the policy holder or in his incapacity to operate the e Insurance Account. The AR is entitled only to access the eIA so as to know the portfolio of insurance policies and the nominees of the respective policies held under that account. The Policy Holder can change the AR, at his discretion, during the term of the eIA. The AR is different from a nominee and has only access rights to the eIA in the event of demise of the policy holder. The Authorized Representative would only to act as a facilitator and is not entitled to receive any policy benefits unless designated as a nominee or assignee by the deceased policy holder.

Who is an Approved Person (AP)?

An Approved Person is a Point of Sale (PoS) appointed by Insurance Repository and will be working on behalf of Insurance Repository to extend the IR services

Should you open an e insurance account ?

Dematerialisation of policies is in a nascent stage. Although you can open an e-Insurance account right away, dematerializing policies will take some more time.  One can have insurance policies from multiple insurers and the only way to get all the policies digitised for this insured is that those multiple insurers have tie-up with the IR where customer has opened e-insurance account. Irda hasn’t made it mandatory for insurers to tie up with all repositories.

Let’s say one holds policies of LIC, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, HDFC Life, Reliance Life Insurance and Max Bupa. Given HDFC Life has tied up with NSDL Database Management, Central Insurance Repository and SHCIL Projects, you could hold an e-account with any of these three repositories. What if all the others decide to tie up with the remaining two repositories? Then, you would have to hold some policies in physical form and others in demat form. Remember the insured can open account with only one Insurance Repository (IR).

Another point to note is that these five companies have been given licence that will be valid only till 31 July 2014. Till now LIC has still not tied up with any of the  insurance repository!

 Therefore, it is suggested till there is more clarity on insurer-repository tie-ups, do not hurry to demat your policies. (We’ll update as things become clear!)

For More details?

IRDA webpage on e Insurance www.policyholder.gov.in/eInsurance_Policies.aspx and websites of the Insurance Repositories (IR), NMDL Database Management( www.nir.ndml.in), Central Insurance Repository(www.cirl.co.in), SHCIL Projects (www.shcilir.com), Karvy Insurance Repository (www.kinrep.com), CAMS Repository Services (www.camsrepository.com)

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What is your opinion on eInsurance? Does it make sense or it is another running around for policy holder? Would you open an e Insurance account?

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