By Karl Angelo N. Vidal, Reporter
THE Insurance Commission (IC) has set new rules for the regulation and supervision of insurance web aggregators.
The IC said in a statement on Thursday that the so-called “price comparison websites” will now be under the supervision of the commission.
Insurance web aggregators are internet-based platforms that provide insurance policy quotations from various insurers based on pre-determined set of needs provided by clients.
“With the development and existence of web aggregators for insurance products, we saw the need to require them to register with us and to put in place regulatory requirements aimed at protecting the insuring public,” Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa was quoted as saying in the statement.
According to the circular letter, applicants are required to submit their business model and system framework or module of operation as well as copies of their agreement with insurance firms, among others.
Online aggregators and insurance companies are must also incorporate in their agreement several provisions mandated by the commission aimed at protecting the public.
The web-based aggregators are prohibited from engaging in any business other than their objective, such as acting as an insurance agent or an insurance broker.
Aggregators must also display authentic product information as well as factual data to ensure the information displayed are up to date and reflect the true features of the products.
“We recognize the increasing number of insurance comparison websites and the important role they play in boosting the online market for insurance products,” Mr. Funa added. “We likewise recognize the need to regulate [these platforms] to ensure that both the insuring public and the insurance industry are protected.”
In 2014, the IC promulgated the Guidelines on Electronic Commerce of Insurance Products, a uniform framework on online solicitation of insurance products by industry players, putting online selling of insurance products within its purview.
Existing online insurance aggregators include MoneyMax.ph, eCompareMo.com, DirectLink, iChoose.ph, GoBear, MoneyMonster.ph and Citinsure, among others.
Moritz Gastl, country manager of MoneyMax.ph, views the regulation of the IC as “very positive.”
“We view this as a very positive step and it shows that the IC is looking to create the right framework for new business models in the insurance industry,” Mr. Gastl told BusinessWorld via e-mail.
“First and foremost, it will help the IC to get an overview of the web aggregator space and its different business models.”
He added that the online platform is looking forward to support the commission in boosting digital offerings while making sure that the firm is complying with the rules and regulations.