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insurance: You can continue to buy life insurance policy without signature, as IRDAI extends timeline

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The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has extended the ease of not requiring physical signatures on life insurance policy proposal forms and allowing OTP-based validation until September 30, 2022.

According to an IRDAI circular dated March 31, 2022, “It has now been decided by the Authority to further extend the facilitation dispensing with physical signature on proposal forms and permitting OTP based validation, up to 30/09/2022. All other provisions, in respect of this dispensation, of the above referred circulars remain unchanged.”

In the case of health insurance policies, the timelines for dispensing with physical papers and wet signatures on the proposal form have been extended.

“This has reference to IRDAI circulars Ref: No. IRDA/NL/CIR/MISC/237/09/2020 dated 10th September, 2020 and further extension granted vide Ref:IRDAI/NL/CIR/MISC/064/03/2021dated 24th March, 2021 and Ref: IRDAI/NL/CIR/MISC/247/09/2021 dated 13th September,2021 on the above subject. It has now been decided by the Authority to further extend the dispensation allowed for proposal in physical form and wet signatureon the proposal form upto the period 30/09/2022,” stated an IRDAI circular issued on March 31, 2022 to general insurers.

Due to the covid lockdown restrictions, many people found it difficult to purchase new health insurance coverage during the pandemic. On September 10, 2020, the insurance regulation permitted health and general insurance companies to obtain policyholder agreement via electronic or digital means, removing this barrier to obtaining new policies.

The exemption for wet signature on a hard copy of an insurance policy was originally valid until March 31, 2021, however IRDAI extended it until September 30, 2021 in the aftermath of the second wave of the pandemic. However, because the epidemic is still affecting many parts of the country, the exemption has been extended from March 31, 2022 to September 30, 2022.

The insurance regulator issued guidelines for the granting of health insurance plans that did not require wet signatures on the proposal form’s hard copy. It required insurers to transmit the policy document and proposal form to the customer’s registered email address or mobile number in a digital/electronic format.

The insurance regulator permitted insurers to obtain consent from prospective clients in a digital or electronic format. If the proposer accepted, he had to confirm his agreement by clicking a link or entering a One Time Password (OTP).

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