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April 13, 2020

Thailand’s OIC Issues Regulations on Digital Face-to-Face Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) has issued two notifications, dated April 7, 2020, regarding the method of offering for sale and issuing of insurance policies, and the conduct of agents, brokers, and banks, as part of the OIC and the Ministry of Finance’s relief measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures are temporary and are intended to address the disruption caused by the necessary suspension of face-to-face distribution channels, to avoid physical contact, and to promote social distancing.

Key provisions include:

  • Face-to-face and bancassurance channels can now be carried out digitally (e.g. by voice, video, and images). This excludes distribution of unit-linked insurance products and other specific complicated life products that could be subject to SEC regulations and requirements.
  • Offerings for sale through digital channels must be recorded. The wording and rating of products that can be offered must have already been approved by the OIC.
  • When a prospective customer wishes to buy, information must be recorded by the agent, broker, or bank, and further submitted to the customer via electronic means, (e.g. application, email, SMS, etc.) for verification and confirmation. When the premium is paid, the receipt must be immediately issued to the customer electronically.
  • If agreed by the customer in advance, policies can be sent via email. The free look period starts when the policy is duly sent to the customers. The confirmation call must be made within seven days. If the customer would like to cancel, the premium must be refunded to the customers within 30 days of the cancellation date.
  • Insurers must arrange for appropriate systems and sale processes that support offering for sale through digital channels, such as records of communication, quality control, and customer personal data protection.

Compliance with these OIC notifications must be in conjunction with the OIC notifications regarding offerings for sale, issued in 2018.

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