how to buy health insurance

insurance intermediary 

  • Insurance is a complex product that denotes an undertaking to indemnify the insured or third party in the event of the occurrence of a covered contingency as per specified terms and conditions. In most insurance transactions, there is often an intermediary—an insurance agent (individual or corporate) or an insurance broker.
  • The insurance intermediary acts as a bridge between consumers (those wanting to buy insurance policies) and insurance companies (those wanting to sell those policies).
  • Insurance brokers are licensed by IRDA and are governed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Insurance Brokers) Regulations 2002. Individual Insurance Agents and Corporate Agents are also licensed by IRDA and are governed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Licensing of Individual Insurance Agents) Regulations 2002 and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Licensing of Corporate Agents) Regulations 2002 respectively. These regulations lay down the code of conduct for the concerned arbitrators.
  • The intermediary plays a special role in the entire life cycle of the product from the sale of the product to the service of the policy and settlement of the claim. The intermediary provides all the accurate information regarding the offered cover to enable the potential customer to choose the best cover for him/her. The intermediary is expected to advise the potential client with full disclosure and transparency. After the sale is made, the intermediary effectively coordinates the service and claim settlement of the policy between the customer and the insurer.
  • IRDA has specified regulations to protect the interests of the policyholders. These specified obligations are applicable at the time of sale as well as at the time of service of the policy and claim settlement, laying down the liability not only on the insurers but also on the intermediaries.
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Tips on dealing with insurance intermediaries

  • When dealing with insurance intermediaries, keep the following in mind:
  • Insist and check whether the person has a valid license and whether he is authorized for that particular business. For example, the intermediary is licensed to sell life insurance or general insurance or both (the holder of the overall license). Someone’s reference always helps.
  • Check whether he has good knowledge of various insurance products/policies.
  • He should understand your needs and know what you want. Always make sure to only consider products that are right for you. Beware of tall promises and high selling gimmicks. Consider only what is in your capacity.
  • Ask questions and understand what the mediator is trying to explain to you about the terms and conditions of the policy.
  • You must be satisfied that you understand your commitments well in this matter. Know what payments or amounts you will have to bear not only at the time of taking the policy but also at the time of surrendering it or making a claim.
  • Ask for brochures and sales literature related to the product you are considering, or what the intermediary is trying to sell. Ask the intermediary to explain the full product facts, the extent of the cover and the exclusions as applicable.
  • Emphasis on providing quality and timely service. You can estimate this by the turnaround time taken during the pre-sale period when the intermediary deals with you.
  • Fill the offer form yourself. Never sign blank proposal forms. If you do not understand any terms of the offer form, ask the mediator to explain it to you.
  • When you pay the premium through an intermediary, check whether he is authorized to do so on behalf of the insurance company, and at the same time insist on a properly signed receipt.
  • Once you have received your policy, go through it thoroughly and if you do not understand some of the terms, contact your intermediary and ask him to explain it. Remember that life insurance policies and health insurance policies with a term of 3 years or more have a free-look period during which you can return the policy. If you do not agree to their given terms and conditions.
  • Ask the mediator questions about the documents and procedures associated with making a claim, and understand them thoroughly. In the event of a claim, there may be other agencies that need to be informed by you apart from the insurance company. Get full details of what actions will be required on your part
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