The loss of a loved one is irreplaceable and is difficult for the family to cope with, but life insurance helps soften the financial blow. In the unfortunate event of the death of a policyholder, the nomineeis required to carry out certain procedures to receive the claim amount. Here is how one needs to go about the process.
Making death claims
Every claim from a life policy starts with claim initiation, then processing and settlement. Considering the restrictions on movement due to Covid-19, many insurers, including SBI Life, Tata AIA Life, ICICI Pru Life and Exide Life, have made the entire process online.
If you are a nominee, then you can raise the claim request to the respective insurer through any one of the modes — email, Whatsapp or Chatbot. You can call the customer service or your agent for the same. Insurers like PNB Met Life and SBI Life have set up dedicated helpdesks to handle Covid-19 death claims requests.
Once you have notified the insurer, the next step is to submit the documents.
There are a few basic documents that are to be submitted irrespective of the type of claims — maturity, accidental or death. These include original policy document, bank account statement or cancelled cheque leaf, nominee’s or life assured’s ( in case of maturity or accident claim) identification proof such as PAN card or Aadhaar.
In case of death claim, in addition to the documents mentioned, the claim form (available with the insurer online), death certificate from competent authority (usually Government officials), doctor’s certificate, medical records or test results should be signed and submitted.
Given the current pandemic situation, many insurers like SBI Life and ICICI Pru Life have made this process digital. Policyholders/nominees can upload claim-related documents through WhatsApp, Mobile App, Chatbots (LiGo in case of ICICI Pru Life) and company website.
Ease of documentation
A few insurers have eased the documentation requirements due to restrictions in place across the country on account of Covid. For instance where death has occurred in a hospital, instead of requiring death certificate mandatorily from municipal authority, LIC has allowed alternate proofs of death such as death summary containing clear date and time of death issued by Government/ESI/Armed Forces/Corporate Hospitals and counter-signed by LIC’s class I officers or Development Officers along with Cremation/Burial certificate.
Similarly, SBI Life and Tata AIA have also waived the requirement of submission of a death certificate from civic authorities in cases where death has happened in a hospital, and the hospital issued (medical cause) death certificate or death discharge summary can be provided as proof of death.
As per insurance regulator IRDAI, life insurers must settle death claims within 30 days of claim intimation. But if a claim warrants an investigation, then the insurer should conduct such investigation within 90 days from the date of receipt of the claim intimation and the claim should be settled within 30 days thereafter. That said, many insurers settle claims within seven working days or less.
For instance, Tata AIA Life and Exide Life settle the claim within two days (48 hours) upon receipt of the mandatory documents, while ICICI Pru Life claims to settle death claims within a day. PNB Met Life has a three-hour turnaround time for approval of death claims upon receipt of required documents.
Norms have been eased up for other claims with life insurers too.
In the case of pension policies (annuities), the insured or the annuitant has to produce life certificate.
Normally, it would require their physical presence as proof of life. Given the current Covid situation, many insurers accept digital life certificate. LIC, for instance, has waived of production of life certificate for annuities with return of capital options due up to October 31, 2021.
Besides accepting life certificates sent through email, in other cases, LIC has also introduced life certificate procurement through video call process.
Private insurers such as SBI Life and Bajaj Allianz Life too, have started accepting digital life certificate and have made the entire process online.