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COVID 19 Impact: Top 5 changes in insurance policies that you should know

COVID-19 Impact: Top 5 changes in insurance policies that you should know

COVID-19 Impact: Top 5 changes in insurance policies that you should know
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By Anshul  Oct 20, 2020 3:31:16 PM IST (Published)

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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted insurance companies operationally. There are some significant changes that insurers have announced such as the launch of new protection products, elimination of physical signature, the introduction of telemedicine facilities, among others. The government and insurance regulator have also announced several relaxations for customers in view of the unprecedented situation prevailing in the country. Here are some of them:

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The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed all general and specialized health insurers to validate health insurance policy proposals forms through digital means in place of physical signatures. The regulator has also given an option to the policyholders to give their agreement to the insurer via a one-time-password, without using a wet signature on the hard copy of the proposal form.

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The insurance companies in July started offering two standard COVID-19 health insurance policies namely ‘Corona Kavach’ and ‘Corona Rakshak’. While 'Corona Kavach' is a standard indemnity-based COVID-19 policy, ‘Corona Rakshak’ is a fixed benefit plan. The indemnity plan is a policy that basically covers all the hospitalization expenses which arise from the novel coronavirus. Further, IRDAI allowed the renewal of these policies.

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The IRDAI took away the mandatory long-term package cover offering both ‘Motor Third Party’ and ‘Own Damage Insurances’ for 3 years on new cars and for 5 years on new two-wheelers. For buyers, this move brought down the cost of first-year insurance for new four-wheelers and two-wheelers. Not buying a long-term policy further provides the flexibility to switch the 'Motor Own Damage' cover to another insurance company.

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The IRDAI has asked insurers to include telemedicine under the health insurance policy. This means that anyone taking telemedicine consultation from a doctor will be allowed to claim the expenses under a health insurance policy provided the policy covers OPD expenses. Provision of allowing telemedicine will be part of the claim settlement of policy of the insurers and need not be filed separately with the authority for any modification.

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IRDAI has asked insurance companies to include wellness and preventive features in health policies. The move will encourage the policyholders to stay healthy and minimize the chance of falling sick. As part of promoting wellness and preventive regime, insurers may offer reward points to those policyholders who comply with or meet the set criteria of wellness and preventive features.

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