Coronavirus COVID-19: IRDA directs insurers to provide 1-month grace period for renewal premium payments

Kashmir Times. Dated: 3/25/2020 12:18:45 AM

NEW DELHI, Mar 24 (Agencies): In a big relief to people in the aftermath of Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, the Insurance regulator IRDAI has directed the life insurers to provide their customers an additional window of up to 30 days for paying renewal premiums.
This has been done in view of disruptions caused by lockdowns in several states and preventive measures being taken to combat the deadly coronavirus. "In case of health insurance policies, the insurers may condone delay in renewal up to 30 days without deeming such condonation as a break in policy," the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) said in a circular. In case of life insurance policies, there is a grace period for payment of renewal premiums, it said, and added insurers have been asked to enhance the grace period by additional 30 days if desired by the policyholders.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Government of India has initiated various measures and several states have enforced lockdown in some areas.
"This may result in some disruption in the operations of insurance companies and other entities connected with the insurance industry. To ensure proper service to policyholders and customers, all the insurers have been asked to maintain continuity of business operations through possible alternate modes including telephonic and digital contact," it said.
The IRDA said that there will be no change in continuity benefit and no claim bonus during this period.
Also, all insurance companies have been asked to display on their websites, the information on functioning of their offices and the alternate arrangements made for premium payments, renewal, settlement of claims and lodging of other service requests.
In case of board meetings of insurers, the IRDAI said the meetings due till June 30 could be held through video-conferencing or other audio-visual means.
The new directives from the IRDA have come at a time when the number of Novel Coronavirus cases in India is nearing the dreaded 500 mark.
Meanwhile, 37 persons in India have been cured and discharged, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday (March 24, 2020). The figure includes at least 41 foreign nationals, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
According to latest figures from ICMR, 492 persons have been infected by the new virus as of March 24 of which there are 446 active cases, 37 recovered cases and 9 deaths so far.
The Centre and state governments have ordered complete lockdown in more than 80 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported. Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala etc have already announced lockdown in many districts as a precautionary measure.
Inter-state passenger bus and trains services have been suspended till March 31 as well. The Centre has also suspended visas till April 15. As per official figures, over 15 lakh people have been screened at various airports in India so far.
The Health Ministry has urged people to contact their emergency helpline number - +91-11-23978046 - for all queries and assistance on coronavirus which has now been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. India's first case was reported on January 30 from Kerala.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus has claimed more than 16,000 live worldwide so far, but the total number of COVID-19 recovery cases has crossed 1 lakh mark on Tuesday. As many as 102,069 people have been recovered globally from the coronavirus disease.



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