We revisited the e-Insurance Account (eIA) concept wistfully in the previous instalment of Cover Note, hoping for a regulatory push for wider adoption.
The insurance regulator has been working on a portal called Bima Sugam, a platform for comparison shopping and purchase of insurance policies, which may now incorporate an eIA as well.
Without adding another service provider to manage, another option could be to make dematerialised insurance policies part of the demat account holding our dematerialised shares and bonds as also other securities and investments.
Mutual funds are already part of the demat account and, lately, the National Pension Scheme (NPS) can also be viewed through the same account. How much more easier can it get for the investor than to have access to all insurance policies as well on the same platform?
Regarding digital versions of documents, especially of the insurance variety, DigiLocker is supposed to display documents, including insurance policies.
Vehicle-insurance policies issued anywhere in India are easily fetched into the account and form part of ‘Issued Documents’ of DigiLocker, which are on par with orginal documents as per IT Act, 2000 and Motor Vehicles Act, 1989.
Having my health policy handy in DigiLocker will help, I thought. This is not one of the ‘Issued Documents’, and, while DigiLocker promises it can fetch it, that promise is not reliably delivered in real life. The error message I get is my name in the policy is not spelt the way it is in Aadhaar.
This easily leads to a favourite rant about how various government agencies misspell names so that if one matches the other and get linked — as is constantly demanded — it’s literally celebration time!
If you are from Southern India where initials are the norm rather than surnames, expect double the trouble quotient because initials are placed, well, initially.
Traditional ID cards and old bank accounts fell in line with our way of doing things while Aadhaar placed the initial at the end of the name!
So, new bank accounts now want the initial at the end of the name too. Aadhaar, PAN and GST documents don’t match up. Passports place the expanded initial at the end of the name, in effect making it a surname, which is what it denoted at one point a couple of generations ago, I guess. All the while, we continue to sign our names with initial in the correct place!
(The writer is a business journalist specialising in insurance & corporate history)