InsurTech Sandbox - IRDAI Releases an Important Update

So far this year,  Indian financial sector regulators have taken steps towards adapting financial sector regulations to encourage the use of new technology. On April 18, 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released its Draft Enabling Framework for Regulatory Sandbox for public comments. Following the RBI, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on May 20, 2019, released its Framework for Innovation Sandbox to the public[1].

The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has not lagged behind in proposing regulatory changes for encouraging the use of new technology as a part of the insurance sector, especially in the life and health insurance sector. In 2017, the IRDAI initiated discussions intending to refine existing law for allowing the use of telematics in the motor insurance space whilst protecting data and privacy of customers from organisations using telematics. In late 2018, the IRDAI constituted a Working Group (Wearable Technology WG) for considering regulatory reforms for examining innovation in the use of wearable / portable devices in the insurance sector.
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Liberalisation of Foreign Investment in Insurance Brokers - Budget 2019

Around noon on Friday, July 4th, 2019, the Hon’ble Minister of Finance, in her budget speech to the nation, proposed revisions to the existing foreign investment caps applicable to insurance brokers and other insurance intermediaries in order to allow 100% foreign direct investment (“FDI”). This move was long overdue on the government’s part, particularly in relation to insurance brokers. In fact, a proposal for liberalising foreign investment caps for insurance brokers has been on the drafting table of the Government of India for close to two years now. In the past, a number of representations had also been made by market participants to the various departments of the government highlighting the need to differentiate foreign investment norms for insurance brokers and insurance companies, and to not treat insurance brokers in parity with insurance companies, in so far as foreign investment is concerned[1].
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data protection indian insurance regulations

In the first part of this two part series we discussed about the regulatory frameworks governing insurance companies and insurance intermediaries. In this part we will look at the guidelines applicable to both insurance companies and insurance intermediaries which includes cyber security and ecommerce guidelines.

Guidelines Applicable to Both Insurance Companies as well as Insurance Intermediaries

In addition to the previously-mentioned regulations, the IRDAI has also issued certain guidelines pertaining to data security and protection that are applicable to both insurance companies as well as insurance intermediaries. These are the Guidelines on Information and Cyber Security for Insurers[i] (Cyber Security Guidelines) and the Guidelines on Insurance E-Commerce[ii] (E-commerce Guidelines) and have been discussed below.
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 Data Protection in the Indian Insurance Sector – Regulatory Framework Part I

A shift towards digitisation has been the central theme for the insurance industry in recent years. Digitisation lowers the cost of transacting business, helps increase penetration, and brings higher efficiencies. However, the convenience of digitisation brings with it concerns related to data protection.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 (SPDI Rules) set out the general framework with respect to data protection in India. However, given the nature of the business of insurance companies and intermediaries, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has prescribed an additional framework for the protection of policyholder information and data, which is required to be followed in addition to the general framework under the IT Act.
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