COVID-19: Absence of Legislative Intervention may impact Commercial Insurance Claims

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown to control its spread has impacted businesses significantly and also led to various entertainment and sporting events being either postponed or cancelled. While one would expect business interruption and event cancellation insurance to cover such losses, such claims are likely to encounter certain issues, which are discussed in this post.

Being Covered under an Insured Peril

Most insurance policies have a list of causes/ events that are covered by the policy. These events/ causes are called insured perils. Only losses/ damages that are caused by insured perils can form the basis of a claim under the said policy. For instance, the policy wording of a standard-form future events insurance covers certain specified losses if any insured event is cancelled due to either (i) loss or damage to the venue due to fire, allied perils, earthquake, flood or cyclone, resulting in cancellation of the event; or (ii) death of current Prime Minister, President of the Republic of India, Chief Minister of the State in which the event is being held, due to which National/ State mourning is declared or any other prominent personality.[1] Claims under such policies are generally triggered when events like sporting tournaments, award functions, etc., are cancelled due to insured perils. It is possible for insurance companies to include epidemic/ pandemic as an insured peril in such policies and charge a higher premium for doing so. For instance, the All England Lawn Tennis Association has been paying a higher premium for the past 15 years for such insurance.[2] In contrast, the cancellation of Indian sporting events like the Indian Premier League are unlikely to have insurance coverage for epidemic/ pandemic since the same are generally not underwritten by insurers in India.[3]
Continue Reading COVID-19: Absence of Legislative Intervention may impact Commercial Insurance Claims

100% FDI allowed in insurance intermediaries - No more ‘peekaboo’!

The Government of India notified the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) (Second Amendment) Rules, 2020 (“Non-Debt Rules Second Amendment”) on April 27, 2020, amending the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-Debt Instruments) Rules, 2019. With this amendment, foreigners can now look to acquire 100% stake in an insurance intermediary, subject to verification by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). This amendment was much awaited by insurance intermediaries[1], which have in the past lobbied to be declassified from the same bracket as insurance companies, in so far as foreign investment was concerned.
Continue Reading 100% FDI allowed in insurance intermediaries – No more ‘peekaboo’!

Coronavirus - COVID19- Faqs

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a “pandemic” on March 11, 2020.

The outbreak and the rapid spread of COVID-19 has sent shock waves across global markets. It has disrupted supply chains, leading to the closure of several manufacturing facilities globally; serious disruption of air and sea traffic and closure of vital air routes, like the one between the US and Europe. This is turn has led to the collapse of stock markets around the world, leading to the loss of billions of dollars, which got wiped out in a matter of days. A combination of all these factors has led to a decline in the overall volume of global economic activity, forcing the world economy towards a possible recession. It is forcing Boards across the globe to confront a host of difficult questions on how business should be conducted during a global public health crisis.
Continue Reading COVID-19 : OFFICIALLY A PANDEMIC

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.
Continue Reading InsurTech Sandbox – IRDAI Releases an Important Update (But Some Debugging Still Required)

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].
Continue Reading Budget Special : The Liberalisation of Foreign Investment in Insurance Brokers – A Shot in the Arm

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.
Continue Reading Data Protection in the Indian Insurance Sector – Regulatory Framework Part II

 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.
Continue Reading Data Protection in the Indian Insurance Sector – Regulatory Framework Part I