New deadline for COVID policies is March 31: IRDAI

Hard copy exemptions also get time

Insurance regulator IRDAI has extended the timelines for insurers to sell and renew short-term COVID-specific health insurance policies by another six months till March 31.

The partial modification of an earlier circular, in which it had set September 30 as last date for sale and renewal of Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak, is bound to come as a relief for both existing and prospective policyholders given the lurking threat of another wave of the pandemic.

Introduced in June 2020 by insurers on the directions of IRDAI, customer response to the COVID-specific health covers has been encouraging. The mounting claims, in the face of a number of people hospitalised for COVID-19, however, led to reports of insurers keen on a tariff revision.

“All insurers are permitted to offer and renew short term Covid specific health policies up to March 31, 2022,” General Manager (Health) D.V.S. Ramesh said in the latest circular addressed to Life, General and standalone Health insurers. All other terms and conditions remain valid as specified under the respective guidelines, the regulator said.

Separately, IRDAI has also extended till March 31 the exemptions it had granted general insurers with regard to obtaining wet signature on applications as well as issuing hard copies of the policy documents.

“The exemptions granted for issuance of electronic policies as well as dispensing with physical document and wet signature have been extended up to March 31. All other contents of the [earlier] circular remain unaltered,” Chief General Manager (Non-Life) Yegnapriya Bharath said in a communication to general insurers on Monday.

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