- Date : 28/06/2021
- Read: 5 mins
An e-insurance account lets you buy and track multiple insurance policies, and allows you to make routine changes such as updating address and/or adding nominees. Read more...
Keeping your insurance policies safe is just as important as renewing them on time. After all, what good is an insurance policy that is misplaced or damaged in a freak accident? While it is possible to get a duplicate copy of the original policy documents, the process to do so can be a long and complex one.
Many choose the relative safety of a bank locker to store their financial documents, insurance policies included. While this does mitigate the risk of loss or theft, it may make it difficult for your loved ones to access them in an emergency. When it comes to insurance, this means it may take you longer to file a claim.
However, a number of digital alternatives are available today – such as the DigiLocker app, which is billed as a “simple and secure document wallet for citizens”. And now, insurance companies have a solution of their own to help customers keep their policies safe yet easily accessible: e-insurance.
What is e-insurance?
E-insurance or electronic insurance is like a vault that allows you to consolidate and manage all your insurance policies in a single location. This can include the whole range – life insurance, health insurance, car/two-wheeler insurance, property insurance, etc. It is a relatively new concept introduced by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) in 2013. In the post-pandemic scenario, e-insurance is more relevant than ever before.
Related: 8 Reasons to buy insurance online
Who is responsible for providing e-insurance services?
A new class of service provider known as ‘insurance repository’ is responsible for providing e-insurance services to policyholders. Insurance repositories are platforms that enable users to open online accounts in which to store electronic copies of their insurance policies. What’s more, one can make modifications such as address change, adding nominees, etc. for multiple policies seamlessly without having to spend hours doing paperwork.
Currently, there are four insurance repositories in India: NSDL Database Management Ltd, Central Insurance Repository Ltd, Karvy Insurance Repository Ltd, and CAMS Insurance Repository Ltd. They differ from insurance companies in that they do not sell insurance policies of their own. Rather, they only store data pertaining to insurance policies and enable policyholders to make any changes quickly and efficiently.
In short, e-insurance is a one-stop shop for every conceivable insurance servicing need that you might have.
How does e-insurance work?
E-insurance is similar to demat accounts used for holding and trading in different kinds of instruments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. To open an e-insurance account, you need to submit an application with any of the four insurance repositories listed above. Once your application is approved, it takes about a week for your e-insurance account to be set up. It can then be used to store digital copies of all your insurance policies with one or more insurance companies.
However, unlike demat accounts, e-insurance rules only allow one account per user. Each user is assigned a unique account number along with a user ID and password. Surprisingly, there are no charges associated with e-insurance. What’s more, existing insurance policies can also be converted to demat format by policyholders, provided their insurance company has a tie-up with the insurance depository in question.
Digitisation of existing policies can be done either via the insurance repository or the insurance company with which you originally took out the policy. Even if your insurance company does not have a tie-up with a specific e-insurance provider currently, you can still open an account and convert your policy to electronic format when it does.
What are the advantages of e-insurance?
- Streamlined KYC: E-insurance saves a lot of time when it comes to buying a new policy. With e-insurance, KYC details do not need to be submitted each time you get a policy. All you need to do is mention your e-insurance account number on the proposal form and the insurance company will be able to access your data. This cuts down paperwork and allows the insurance company to process your policy application faster.
- Seamless policy servicing: E-insurance makes managing multiple insurance policies effortless. For example, instead of making changes to each policy individually whenever you move to a different address, you can update them all in one go.
- Easy policy tracking: An e-insurance account makes it easy for you to view all your upcoming premium payments and schedule payments from a single location. You also get an annual statement from the e-insurance provider showing the current status of all your insurance policies.
What about appointing a nominee?
It is possible for you to appoint a nominee to operate your account in case of death or if you are indisposed. In e-insurance terminology, a nominee is referred to as an authorised representative. However, they can only facilitate the settlement of the account and are not eligible for any insurance benefits.
The only exception is if the authorised representative named is also listed as a beneficiary on the said insurance policies. After the settlement process is completed, the authorised representative is responsible for completing the formalities to close the account.
Can one switch to a different insurance repository?
Yes, just like porting an insurance policy, this too is possible. On the basis of your unique e-insurance account number, the previous history of all your insurance policies is automatically transferred to the new provider in this case.
Is it possible to revert to a physical policy?
Yes, a policyholder can choose to close their e-insurance account and request for physical copies of any active insurance policies they might have.