In order to address the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic in India, the government has issued various notifications, including a nationwide closure of all public and private establishments (except for essential service providers), which have had a direct impact on the normal functioning of entities, including those in the insurance sector. This article provides an overview of the key notifications and guidelines issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indian motor insurance framework underwent a variety of key developments in 2019, including the introduction of standalone own damage cover, the extension of the present insurance framework on ads to point-of-sales persons and registered automobile dealerships and the notification of an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988.
Health insurance products have seen an improved uptake recently and there appears to be a significant focus on rewarding policyholders for preventive and wellness habits, with a specific focus on forthright disclosures made in policy documents and advertising material. With changes introduced under amendment regulations and the expected issuance of draft mediclaim guidelines, it appears that a more comprehensive wellness regime will shortly be introduced to the Indian insurance market.
The account aggregator ecosystem was introduced to solve the problems of data portability in the insurance sector, among others. However, the question of whether the business model is viable will largely hinge on the successful implementation of the consent architecture envisaged under the Master Directions Non-Banking Financial Company – Account Aggregator (Reserve Bank) Directions and the terms of the contractual arrangements which are entered into with the various regulated entities.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority recently issued the Report of the Committee on the Regulatory Sandbox in the Insurance Sector in India, which proposes to establish a sandbox environment in the insurance sector. According to the report, the sandbox will facilitate innovation in the Indian insurance sector and provide an ecosystem to foster the experimentation required to increase insurance penetration in the market and benefit policyholders. However, reservations remain.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Re-insurance) Regulations 2018 were notified on 12 December 2018 and came into force on 1 January 2019. As well as streamlining filing requirements and processes, the regulations consolidate the existing regulations for life and general reinsurance business into a uniform set of provisions for reinsurance business in India.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India recently introduced changes to the regulations governing motor insurance in India. Under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, insurance cover for third-party liability is mandatory for all motor vehicles at the time of purchase. However, until recently, this third-party liability insurance had a mandatory one-year cover term and had to be renewed by the policyholder each year.
Although blockchain is relatively new, India has seen a few segmental adoptions of the technology, with some public authorities – including the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India – acknowledging its potential benefits. Further, recent press reports have indicated that some insurers have already started contemplating various ways in which to implement the technology.
There were a number of interesting developments in the Indian insurance industry in 2017, including a rapid increase in the number of insurers, new forms of online commerce and evolving business processes. From a regulatory perspective, 2017 also saw a continued overhaul of the existing insurance regulatory framework, with a slew of new regulations being introduced and existing guidance being amended and updated.
The draft Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2017 has recently attracted significant attention. This is mainly due to the objections raised by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), among other parties. Although the exact nature of the IRDAI's objections to the bill are unclear, a balance may need to be struck between the powers of the existing sectoral regulators and the proposed Resolution Corporation.