Irdai, in September, allowed companies offering heath products to accept premium payment in instalments, which are otherwise collected annually.
Companies can offer health premiums in installments as a permanent feature or as a temporary relief to policyholders for twelve months in respect of all policies due for renewal up to March 31, 2021. In doing so, the regulator has relaxed the guidelines that mandates a gap of twelve months for effecting minor changes in the products.
Premium payments may be monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly, but without change in basic premium table and charging structure.
“While the regulator had allowed insurers to collect health premiums in installments vide circular in September last year, but insurers had to refile the products but given the current scenario, the regulator has said the insurers can start this feature right away without refiling the product to ease the pressure on policyholders”, said Amit Chhabra, Business Head, Policybazaar.com.
The matter of availability of facility of payment of premiums in instalments and the conditions thereon shall be suitably published in the website of every insurance company, the regulator said.
Where the facility of payment of premiums in instalments is offered in respect of any product the same shall be offered to all policyholders without any discrimination and policyholders shall be also notified of the applicable conditions, it added.
Moreover, the insurance company has to take consent from the policyholders on all conditions to give the feature of paying premium in installments. The names of the products that are offered the facility of payment of premiums in instalments by insurers shall be published in the websites of insurers for the information of policyholders and the insurers have to provide the details of the products where such a facility is allowed to the regulator.
Irdai has asked insurers to decide on health insurance claims within two hours, aiming to ease pressure on the country’s healthcare infrastructure battling the coronavirus outbreak.