An insurance repository acts like a depository, whereby it holds insurance policies in the electronic form for insurance policy holders. So, just as you have shares being held by a depository in the electronic form, here insurance certifcates are held by repositories in electronic form
How can you use the services of a repository?
At the time of making an application, there is an option of allowing your policies in the electronic form, thereby ensuring that you can view them.
At the moment the repository service has 5 major players who are allowed by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority. These include NSDL Database, Central insurance Repository Ltd, Karvy Insurance Repository Ltd, SHCIL and CAMS Repository.
There were some reports that one of the above, would be exiting the business. We are not sure, if it has yet done so.
Is there a Repository for LIC?
At the moment there is no repository for LIC. This is because the institution may prefer to hold life insurance certificates in the digital form by itself. There were reports that it would be helpful for the corporation as it would prevent theft of data. LIC remember has a dominant share in the life insurance business, despite the presence of many private sector players.
It makes sense for the corporation to go alone, given its huge financial muscle and a dominant share of the life insurance business.
However, should LIC go it alone, it could have an impact on the repository services of the 5 licenced companies, given that they may have to now cater only to the private sector.
How to open an e insurance account with the repository?
The policyholders need to open an e insurance account with any of the 5 companies or repositories that we have. Now, you cannot open two accounts at the repository though you can have multiple certificates that are linked to the account.
Just like a demat account, you would get a unique account number, which can also be called the e IA or your account number.
Just like shares, you will have a unique login and ID where you can view all your insurance accounts. You can also view the policy renewal date and make payment online for your insurance payment that is due.
To open an account, you would have to follow the generally laid down procedures, which would largely be the know your customer details.
An Approved Person
An insurance repository may appoint an approved company that would represent the repository. In short such a company would be a kind of liason person in between the insurance company and the repository. However, the appointment of such a company has to be approved by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority.
It has to be a company registered under the Companies Act 1956.