Insurers are shying away from offering life cover to women during pregnancy. Lack of clarity and misinformation on the matter is leading to confusion and agony for many.
“I contacted a major insurance broker seeking life insurance as an Indian citizen in the United States. Despite selecting a policy and completing paperwork, I was denied coverage upon revealing my pregnancy when questioned,’‘ Manisha, an Indian citizen who is now living in the US, told businessline.
She also approached about half a dozen individual insurers who declined her application for life cover at various states of processing her application.
Same was the experience of Ratnamala, a software engineer from Karnataka who works in Hyderabad. “I was disappointed for two reasons. Firstly, it should be clearly stated that life cover cannot be sold to pregnant. Secondly, it is unfair that at the most important stage of her life, a woman is denied insurance,’‘ Ratnamala said.
When contacted, a senior official of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) said, “Underwriting of female lives who are pregnant at the time of proposal, insurers are at liberty to formulate their procedure in the underwriting policy.’‘
In the case of life insurance policy underwriting, for any condition like pregnancy or post-operative care of any surgery, insurers taking into account the prognosis of the specific underlying condition, postpone the acceptance of the proposal for a specific period like 3 months or 6 months depending on the criticality of the underlying condition and its prognosis. And subsequent to the period, proposals are accepted.
“This is the general procedure, but diverse practices are possible like rating the lives appropriately instead of postponing. There is no dropping of cover once accepted under life insurance policy,’‘ he said.
The procedure would slightly differ in case of a health insurance policy offered by any insurer (life/NL/health). If the proposer is pregnant at the time of proposal, it becomes a known and certain event and hence policy may exclude the costs related to that delivery.
”Again, insurers can formulate underwriting policies which can include pregnancy with suitable ratings. For example., group policy may offer coverage for pregnancy-related costs with an additional premium or included within the base premium without imposing an exclusion,’‘ the official said.
Notwithstanding the norms, there is a plea for taking a relook at norms pertaining to life cover during pregnancy. “This situation unjustly denies women financial security during pregnancy, an infringement on civil rights. I urge a re-evaluation of policies preventing pregnant women from obtaining life insurance, promoting fairness and gender equality in the insurance industry,’‘ Manisha said.
- Also read: IRDAI sets up inter-disciplinary standing committee on cyber security
#Insurers #shy #offering #life #cover #women #pregnancy