The insurance sector that is awaiting its UPI (Unified Payments Interface) moment is likely to find it in the forthcoming roll out of Bima Sugam (Hindi phrase for ‘insurance made simple’).
This much-awaited platform – which has already missed two deadlines -- will be a one-stop solution for insurance-related transactions of policyholders.
The insurance regulator IRDAI has set up a committee to oversee the creation and operation of Bima Sugam platform.
What is Bima Sugam?
Just as an e-commerce platform, Bima Sugam will be an online insurance marketplace that will enable insurers to sell their policies here, and policyholders will be able to buy and apply for claims, among other services.
To be able to buy insurance policies, policyholders will be given an e-Bima account just as a demat account is used to buy securities. The Bima Sugam will also have linkages with the UIDAI, NSDL and CSDL.
This will include life, health and other policies such as motor and travel. The industry body will be jointly owned by different stakeholders which will include 47.5 percent each for life and general insurance companies, and 2.5 percent each by brokers and agents.
How will it make the lives of policyholders simpler?
The platform will give access to all customers to open an account known as e-bima that will be used to buy an insurance plan (health, life, motor or travel), apply for a claim and raise a grievance, if any.
Additionally, they will not need to keep the physical copies of policy documents as proof.
When will it be launched?
It was earlier scheduled to be launched in Jan 2023 then in Aug 2023. Now, it is slated to be launched in June 2024.
In May this year, IRDAI chairperson Debashish Panda met CEOs of leading insurers in Mumbai to finetune the project.
Besides Bima Sugam, another all-encompassing tool that is scheduled to be launched is Health Claims Exchange.
This is set to make the lives of policyholders hassle-free by simplifying the process of filing claims for health insurance, and will enable hospitals and policyholders to track the claim process online in real time.