In the year 2016, it is time for new resolutions, new plans and new beginnings. The insurance sector in India as a whole is also bracing up for major changes ahead. Insurance, which was once considered as an investment vehicle more than a protection-based instrument, has now managed to increase the awareness about the protective component. As a result, both life and general health insurance numbers are witnessing a good upside in recent times. Here is a look at the major reforms and changes that are likely to drive the growth of the insurance sector in India.
New face of insurance sector in 2016
Many reforms in the insurance sector have been ushered in after the passage of the new insurance Bill in 2015. As a common man looking to purchase life or health insurance products, the passage of the bill now means you will not only get better insurance products and services in the year ahead, mis-selling will be largely eliminated from the industry.
Be ready for innovative health insurance plans
Rising inflation, especially in the medical sector, has meant high health care costs. As a result, the health insurance sector is witnessing high interest. If you are looking to get health insurance, the year 2016 is just the right time as insurance companies are offering many innovative and customised health insurance plans to suit various needs of buyers. This means you can have a customised insurance policy made exactly for your specific needs something which was not possible earlier. There is also a buzz in the insurance add-on segment as well.
Expect a government backed health plan soon
It is not that all insurance related plans and schemes are being offered only by private players. The government is working on a proposal to bring out a universal health insurance scheme for the masses. Currently, there is only one health insurance scheme known as the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana that essentially offers health cover to people living below the poverty line. The new universal scheme may bring a large number of people on board offering health cover at nominal premium.
Other recent changes
The winds of change in the insurance sector had already started blowing from the last quarter of 2015. Here is a recap of the recent changes in the insurance sector in 2015, which will be actively visible in 2016.
ROHINI - The new health insurance portal:
The Insurance Information Bureau (IIB) launched a health insurance portal known as the Registry of Hospitals in Network of Insurer or Rohini. The portal acts as a one-stop platform offering complete health insurance related information with a starting database of over 35,000 hospitals.
If you are confused about the best health plan for your need based on multiple health insurance schemes offered by multiple service providers, logging on to the portal at https://rohini.iib.gov.in gives you hands on information in understanding plans and choosing the most appropriate one as per your requirement.
Discharge vouchers woes resolved
If you were one of those who thought twice while signing on an insurance discharge voucher to get a claim, with the new Irda guidelines, insurance companies cannot hold discharge voucher as a document to negate any future claims. Incorporated in the last quarter of 2015, it offers you an added protection for your claims. Even if you are signatory to a discharge voucher, you still retain your right to approach a district consumer forum or the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for a resolution of your insurance claim dispute.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) has formed two committees to study the ways to promote e-commerce in the insurance sector so as to increase the insurance penetration in the country. So the insurance sector is poised for more reach in the year 2016.
To sum up, the year 2016 will see innovative and customized plans, fast and efficient claim settlement, complete digitization, and more protection to you as a policyholder than ever before in the event of a dispute with the insurance company. Many new regulatory changes too are awaited.
The writer is the CEO of BankBazaar.com