Life insurers will not invoke 'force majeure' clause for Covid-19 claims

The insurance regulator has provided some relaxations to policyholders by giving them a grace period of 30 days to pay their premiums if they are falling due between March and April 2020.
Life insurers, both private and state owned, will not invoke ‘force majeure’ clause in case of Covid-19-related death claims and will process them at the earliest, said Life Insurance Council.

“This step was taken to reassure customers who had reached out to individual life insurance companies seeking clarity on this clause in their contract as well as to dispel rumours to the contrary. All life insurance companies have also communicated to their customers individually in this regard,” the council said.

“The life insurance industry is taking every measure to ensure the disruption caused to policyholders, due to the lockdown is minimal, by providing them uninterrupted support digitally — be it honoring death claims related to Covid-19 or servicing their policy,” said the secretary general of the council.

The insurance regulator has provided some relaxations to policyholders by giving them a grace period of 30 days to pay their premiums if they are falling due between March and April 2020.

The unit-linked policyholders have also been provided relief by the insurance regulator wherein the regulator has asked insurers to offer settlement options in accordance with Regulation 25 of linked insurance products. Under the regulations, the period of settlement may be extended till five years from the date of maturity and not beyond.

The regulations further say that the insurer may levy fund management charge during the settlement period and no other charges can be levied. Partial withdrawals and switches shall not be allowed during the settlement period and complete withdrawal may be allowed at any time during the settlement period without levying any charge.

“This one-time option is regardless of whether such option exists or not in the specific product. The life insurers, however, have to exercise all due care and diligence to explain clearly the possible downside risks of continued fluctuation of fund value-based on daily net asset value and clear consent has to be obtained from the policyholder. This is allowed for unit-linked policies maturing up to May 31, 2020,” said the regulator.



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