Standalone health insurance companies can now sell health cover through life insurance agents of other companies also.

Till now, they could make use of the services of life insurance agents after converting them into composite agents in a manner which was cumbersome according to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) norms.

“It has been decided to waive the mandated IC 34 certification for Life Insurance Agents desiring to distribute products of a standalone health insurance company,” J. Hari Narayan, Chairman, IRDA, said in a circular.

Standalone health insurers are the companies which operate exclusively in the health insurance business. They can be made to sell health insurance after training for a minimum period of 25 hours which gives them more flexibility to distribute their products. Further, the insurers can make use of the services of agents, corporate agents of other life and/or non-life insurance companies to distribute their products.

The objective of this move was “to encourage penetration of health insurance and to spread the message of health insurance across the country”, Hari Narayan said.

From a customer point of view, the relaxation of norms gives better access to buy health cover.

As of now, there are three such companies: Star Health and Allied Insurance Co Ltd, Apollo Munich Health Insurance and Max-Bupa Health Insurance.

(This article was published on February 19, 2013)
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