The first of its kind all-in-one affordable insurance product, Bima Vistaar — offering life, health and property cover — is likely to be rolled out soon.
“The product is in the final stages of design based on discussions with Life and General Insurance Councils and industry,” a senior official of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) told businessline.
This comprehensive, standardised cover was proposed by Debashish Panda, Chairman of IRDAI, as a crucial step among a series of reforms aimed at realising IRDAI’s vision of providing insurance coverage to everyone by 2047. The discussions on the pricing of the product in an `affordable’ manner has reached almost a final stage and the inclusion of some riders as added features are being worked out, the official said.
When asked if the insurers were willing to offer it at an ‘affordable’ price, he said based on the discussion the regulator had with the industry, the companies were indeed ‘happy’ and bullish on Bima Vistaar.
It will have simple and easily understandable terms and conditions. It will also take complete advantage of digital advancement and is likely to have a provision where the claim can be verified digitally and the settled amount can be credited to the beneficiaries’ account automatically.
Latest developments in technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML) are being used to create a digital platform to reach the last mile in rural and hitherto uncovered areas to ramp up insurance penetration.
The rollout of Bima Vistaar will build upon the success of the Bank Mitra model, which played a pivotal role in the achievement of the Centre’s financial inclusion programme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).
Currently, there are 8.5 lakh Bank Mitras who serve as the crucial link to reaching the last mile of financial services. To further enhance financial inclusion, Bima Vistaar is adopting a women-centric distribution model. Under this approach, women, including members of Self Help Groups, will be appointed as ‘Bima Vahaks’ with a primary focus on reaching underserved rural areas.
IRDAI believes that women ‘Vahaks’ will be better positioned to convince women members of the rural households on the need for affordable social security and take cover through Bima Vistaar.
“Insurance field staff in remote areas need to build trust of the local population, be more patient and persuasive to be able to explain the nuances of the need for risk cover. In this context a women-centric distribution model emerges as an apt model,’‘ the official added.
IRDAI hopes to create awareness and spread of insurance through a trinity of Bima Vistaar, Bima Vahak and the digital platform Bima Sugam.