Consider this: You are part of a group of fitness freaks, all in their mid-forties. Despite perfect health parameters, your premiums are higher than those for a 35-year-old with no fitness regimes and facing the risk of obesity-related ailments in the future. Think it’s unfair? A solution could be on its way, as early as next month. Such policyholders might be able to collectively buy a cost-effective group cover, provided they demonstrate the desired fitness levels.
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The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has approved 30 non-life products under the Regulatory Sandbox framework. Prospective policyholders will be able to buy products with features that regular policies don’t offer during a six-month testing period.
In August last year, the IRDAI had issued regulatory sandbox guidelines, inviting insurers to send in proposals with features not permitted under the existing regulatory framework. It defines regulatory sandbox as the environment that provides a testing ground for new business models, processes and applications that “may not necessarily be covered fully by or are not fully compliant with existing regulations.” Put simply, the purpose is to allow experiments to test viability and acceptability of novel products.
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Subsequently, 173 proposals were received, out of which IRDAI approved 33 health and motor insurance proposals. Thirty of these are products that will be offered to customers for a six-month period from February 1 to July 31, 2020.
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“The approvals state that the products can be sold to a maximum of 10,000 customers. The pricing will be determined by insurers. They will, however, have to make it clear to policyholders that these products will come with a limited tenure and are not renewable for life, unlike regular health policies,” says Ashutosh Shrotriya, Head-Products and Business Processes, Religare Health Insurance.
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The regulator could grant an extension if the insurer can provide justifiable reasons, along with a performance analysis of the proposal. Once the extension period ends, the product will be back in the regulator’s court, which will then determine the further course of action.