A social safety net product called “Bima Vistaar” targeting the untapped geographies is in the works and is soon going to be launched on the insurance regulator’s pet project “Bima Sugam”, said Thomas Devasia, Member Non-Life, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai).
The regulator last month had formed a 24-member committee, headed by Devasia, to develop an affordable, accessible and comprehensive cover – Bima Vistaar — for rural population, on benefit based / parametric structure.
Devasia said the product will be across multiple lines such as property, life, and health segments and will see industry wide participation.
The committee formed by the regulator is also looking at constituting a new distribution force on the lines of banking correspondents called “Bima Vahak”, who will focus on reaching the untapped areas and increase penetration of insurance in those areas.
The committee formed by the regulator had also been asked to suggest a regulatory framework for such a distribution force. They were also asked to recommend on how to bring about synergies in the working and operations of Bima Vahak, Bima Vistaar and the digital platform – Bima Sugam.
Devasia said, the product is not being developed by the regulator but by the market participants with the support of the regulator. He said the platform “Bima Sugam” will be owned by the market players and the ownership matter is still under discussion.
Bima Sugam will be an online marketplace, allowing insurers to sell their products on the platform, settle claims, and service their customers. It will be a one-stop destination for all the insurance needs of a consumer as well. They can buy insurance policies, port their insurer and agent, and settle their claims. All these facilities will be provided to policyholders with e-insurance accounts.
Meanwhile speaking at an event in Mumbai, Saurabh Mishra, Joint Secretary at the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance said, there is need to look at the insurance coverage ratio along with parameters like insurance penetration and density. The insurance coverage ratio in the country needs to be increased significantly and the government sponsored schemes will go a long way in doing that. He encouraged all the insurance companies to actively promote the government schemes.