Insurance Authority introduces further measures to facilitate purchase of all life insurance products online
4 March 2022
In view of the latest pandemic situation, the Insurance Authority (IA) today (4 March 2022) issued a circular to authorized life insurers announcing further facilitative measures which open up the distribution of all life insurance products via online channels to meet the demand of potential policy holders for a wide variety of insurance products while minimising the risk of infection during the sales process.
The further facilitative measures are the following:
Extension of Temporary Facilitative Measures to 30 September 2022
The validity of the temporary facilitative measures1 (TFM) for non-face-to-face distribution of specific protective insurance products will be extended to 30 September 2022. The scope of products covered (in-scope TFM products)2 and the implementation details of the measures remain unchanged.
Extension of Insurtech Sandbox to all life insurance products
To satisfy the growing needs of the general public for protective insurance products and enhance financial inclusiveness, the IA will allow the distribution of all life insurance products, including Investment-linked Assurance Scheme (ILAS) products, via Virtual Onboarding (VO) Sandbox approved by the IA. All other existing requirements for the distribution of ILAS products still apply and must be complied with as appropriate. Insurers currently operating VO Sandbox approved by the IA need not submit new applications to effect this extension.
In addition, all in-scope TFM products can now be sold via VO Sandbox without recording, provided that upfront disclosure at the point-of-sale is duly performed and an extended cooling-off period of no less than 30 calendar days is in place.
Fast Track to process VO Sandbox applications
The IA has set up a fast track to expedite the processing of applications from insurers without VO Sandbox intending to sell life insurance products via video conference. They may also consider making use of the shared virtual onboarding platform launched by the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers in September 2020, which has been pre-vetted by the IA to shorten the turnaround time required for the necessary approval.
“The introduction of further facilitative measures aims to help address the need of potential policy holders in obtaining the necessary protection while minimising the risk of infection when taking out life insurance policies,” said Ms Carol Hui, Executive Director of Long Term Business of the IA. “We appreciate the unwavering support and dedication of our insurance industry in providing quality services and timely protection for policy holders amid the current severe pandemic situation.”
The IA will constantly review the facilitative arrangements in view of the evolving pandemic developments.
1 Temporary facilitative measures were rolled out in two phases in February and March 2020 respectively.
2 Qualifying Deferred Annuity Policy (QDAP), Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) products, term life policies, and refundable policies without substantial savings component or renewable policies without cash value that provide insurance protection.