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As insurance penetration sees a post-pandemic spike in India, over 80% of the insurance buyers prefer a physical copy of their policy document, according to a recent survey by Bombay Master Printers Association (BMPA).

However, only less than half of the purchasers received a physical copy of their insurance from the companies, increasing uncertainty around receiving claims among the buyers.

As an insurance policy is a contract between the insurance company and the insured individual, nearly 82% of the buyers preferred a physical copy over the digital, according to the findings of the survey based on around 5,900 responses spread across age groups and regions.

The policy certificate contains critical details of the insurance cover laying out the benefits, terms and conditions, the procedure to file for a claim if needed, and the contact details of the insurer.

Nearly eight in 10 survey participants felt that during the time of the claim or an emergency, a hard copy of the policy issued by the insurance company would be preferable.

About 56% of the respondents were in the age group of 18-40 years, 28% in the 41-60 years bracket and 14% of the respondents were 60 years and above.

“With the contribution of insurance to GDP having risen sharply in the last one year, it is important to also make buyers feel safe about their investment. Most companies still ask for the original paper document while processing the claim. The insurance regulator must consider restoring section 4 and mandating issuing physical copies of the policy document at the earliest in the interest of buyers," said Mehul Desai, former President and current Managing Committee member of BMPA. He is also a Governing Council (GC) Member of the All India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP).

While several insurance companies have decided to ‘Go Green’ by either discarding the physical copies of insurance policies completely or making them optional even before the pandemic, many believe that the same insurance companies ask them for a physical copy while claiming for the policy amount. The companies not only ask for the physical copy of the insurance policy but also other necessary documents.

Over 60% of the survey respondents felt that the insurance companies push for only digital copies, instead of physical copies. Also, 67% of the participants said that they take a printout of the policy from a cyber cafe printer, a printer shop, or home, to be safe.

As per regulation 4 of IRDAI (issuance of e-insurance policies) Regulations, 2016, an insurer has to issue both physical and electronic insurance certificates to policyholders. However, as an interim measure in view of the covid-19 pandemic, IRDAI had allowed insurers to issue only electronic policy documents and exempted them from the requirement of sending insurance policies in physical form till March 31, 2022, following two extensions.

About 73% of the survey participants believed that it was better to have a physical copy of the document for records, especially in the case of life and health insurance.

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