The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has recently published draft guidelines for Bima Vahaks (insurance volunteers).
This is a new scheme that aims to establish the last-mile connect while boosting insurance inclusion and awareness across the country.
The insurance regulator looks forward to deploying resources who can address the diverse needs and aspirations in every gram panchayat (village council) and village.
While establishing a dedicated women-centric distribution channel, one of the primary objectives is to encourage onboarding of women as Bima Vahaks, who could promote distribution and servicing of insurance products.
The insurance regulator’s draft guidelines highlight two types of Bima Vahaks—corporate and individual. Corporate Bima Vahaks relate to legal entities registered under the Indian laws and engaged by insurance companies (insurers). Similarly, individual Bima Vahaks may be appointed by an insurer or a corporate Bima Vahak.
A Bima Vahak would be able to distribute and service the authority-approved Bima Vistaar products, which provide affordable, accessible and comprehensive cover for the rural population in the eventuality of a natural catastrophe such as floods or earthquakes, etc.
They can work with only a single life, general, and health insurer. In addition, where permitted, these Bima Vahaks can be associated with the Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd.
Besides formulating the dos and don’ts for the insurers, the guidelines also highlight the implementation of a Board-approved policy by companies related to Bima Vahaks.
Every insurer will hold the responsibility for ensuring the know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance with regard to the policies sourced via individual as well as corporate Bima Vahaks.
Also, insurers would be required to appoint a complaint-handling officer in the local office of every gram panchayat, who would be responsible for addressing any complaint against a Bima Vahak.
These draft guidelines are open for comments from various stakeholders up to June 22
Rajiv is an independent editorial consultant for the last decade. Prior to this, he worked as a full-time journalist associated with various prominent print media houses. In his spare time, he loves to paint on canvas.