Many people were finding it difficult to buy new health insurance policies during the pandemic due to the lockdown restrictions. To remove this hurdle in getting new policies, the insurance regulator had allowed health and general insurance companies to get the policyholders’ consent through electronic or digital mode on September 10, 2020.
Initially, the exemption for wet signature on the hard copy of an insurance policy was valid till March 31, 2021, however, in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic, IRDAI extended it till September 30, 2021. However, with the pandemic still prevalent in many parts of the country, the regular has extended the exemption till March 31, 2022.
IRDAI made the latest extension announcement via a circular on September 14, 2021. “In view of the continuing situation of Covid-19 pandemic, in partial modification of Clause No. 5 of the within referred circular dated 10th September 2020 the timelines for (a) Issuance of electronic policies and (b) dispensing with physical signatures and wet signature on the proposal form in respect of health insurance policies, stand extended up to 31st March, 2022,” stated the IRDAI circular.
Last year, the insurance regulator had laid down guidelines for the issuance of health insurance policies without wet signatures on the hard copy of the proposal form. It mandated insurers to send the policy document and the proposal form through digital/electronic mode to the customer’s registered email ID or mobile number. The insurance companies were also directed by IRDAI to inform the customer simultaneously through SMS about the dispatch of the policy and proposal form through digital/electronic mode.
In order to receive the consent from the prospective customers, the insurance regulator allowed insurers to get it through digital or electronic mode. If the proposer agreed, he had to give his consent by confirming it by following the link or through a One Time Password (OTP).