A Simpler Solution
India’s insurance regulator mandates that life insurers offer a basic policy to individuals between 18 and 65 without restrictions on gender, place of residence, travel, occupation or educational qualifications.
- David Pilla
- January 2021
India life insurers must introduce a standard individual term life insurance product into the market by Jan. 1, according to a new mandate by the country's insurance regulator.
The product—called Saral Jeevan Bima—was to have been filed by insurers by Dec. 1, 2020, at the latest, said the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India in a statement.
Saral Jeevan Bima is a non-linked, non-participating individual pure risk premium life insurance plan that provides for a lump sum payment if the insured dies during the policy term. The insurer's name will be prefixed to the product name, Saral Jeevan Bima.
Apart from stated benefits and riders, no other riders, benefits, options or variants will be offered, the IRDAI said. The only exclusion will be for suicide.
The product will be offered to individuals between 18 and 65 without restrictions on gender, place of residence, travel, occupation or educational qualifications; the policy term would be five to 40 years, the regulator said.
“The insurer may suitably modify the definitions and other clauses of the policy contract prospectively based on the regulations or guidelines that may be issued by the authority from time to time,” the IRDAI said.
Over the past few years, there has been an increased customer preference toward pure term life insurance products, the IRDAI said. With the growing demand, life insurers have been introducing “innovative protection products” with a number of features, the regulator said.
“There are many term products in the market with varying terms and conditions,” the IRDAI said. “Customers who cannot devote adequate time and energy to make informed choices find it difficult to select the right product. Also, products may not be available for the intended sum assured.
“To make available a product by all life insurers that will broadly meet the needs of an average customer, it is felt necessary to introduce a standard, individual term life insurance product, with simple features and standard terms and conditions.”
The IRDAI said the standard product “will make it easier for the customers to make an informed choice, enhance the trust between the insurers and the insured, and reduce mis-selling as well as potential disputes at the time of claim settlement.”
In September, the IRDAI proposed a pandemic risk pool to provide business interruption coverage for future diseases in the wake of COVID-19.
An IRDAI working group is proposing the pool—to which insurers and reinsurers would contribute—that would start with total coverage of about $680 million and eventually reach about $10.19 billion.
The pool, which would include a government backstop, would be set up as a public-private partnership with GIC Re recommended as the administrator due to its experience with similar pools in the past, an IRDAI report said.