Regulator Irdai on Thursday came out with draft guidelines for 'Bima Vahaks (BV)', which seeks to establish a dedicated distribution channel at the level of Gram Panchayats.
The guidelines propose Corporate Bima Vahaks and Individual Bima Vahaks for the distribution channel.
Corporate Bima Vahak would be legal persons registered in accordance with the respective laws and engaged by an insurer. Individual Bima Vahak could be any individual appointed by an insurer or appointed by a Corporate Bima Vahak.
The BVs, both corporate and individual, would be authorised to undertake activities like the collection of proposal information, and KYC documents and coordinate claims-related services.
"Every Insurer shall remain responsible for ensuring KYC and AML (anti-money laundering) compliance with respect to the policies sourced through Individual Bima Vahaks and Corporate Bima Vahaks," said the draft on which Irdai has invited stakeholders' comments till June 22.
As per the draft, every insurer would have to make available optional modes for payment of premiums by prospects or policyholders.
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Also, Bima Vahaks should be encouraged to adopt electronic payment processes facilitated by the insurers to enable direct remittance of premiums, it added.
Irdai said the objective of BV is to establish a dedicated distribution channel that is focused on enhancing insurance inclusion and creating awareness in every Gram Panchayat, thereby improving accessibility and availability of insurance in every nook and corner of the country.
Another objective is to identify and develop resources locally who understand and appreciate local needs within every Gram Panchayat and village, especially encouraging, the onboarding of women, who can gain the trust of locals as Bima Vahaks for distribution and servicing of insurance products.