On November 29, the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) in Thailand announced that it had approved, in principle, draft notifications that set out the criteria, procedures, and conditions for the issuing and offering for sale of both life and general insurance products through online channels.

The key features of the draft notifications are as follows:

  • Insurance companies, brokers, and banks are permitted to sell insurance products through online channels.
  • The wording of all insurance policies sold electronically must receive prior approval from the OIC, and insurance intermediaries may only sell policies electronically once they have received permission from the insurance company.
  • Confirmation calls are required within seven days from the issuance of an insurance policy. Insurance companies must record confirmation calls and keep the record for the period prescribed by law.
  • Strict liability has been imposed on insurance companies over their intermediaries in relation to the provisions of the notifications. The insurance companies must ensure that their intermediaries rigorously comply with the regulations, and they must withdraw permission from the intermediaries if any violations are found.
  • Insurance companies must establish a secured system for transacting online to prevent any data breaches. The secured system must align with the standards required by the Electronic Transactions Act and other related regulations.

If an insurance company makes use of a third-party service in order to pay a claim to the insured, the company must report the name of the third party to the OIC and must ensure that security measures are held to the standards of e-transaction laws. Insurance companies are responsible for ensuring that third-party service providers comply with all related regulations.

In addition to registering with the OIC, insurance companies, brokers, and banks are still required to register with other competent government authorities in order to comply with other applicable laws.

The OIC has indicated that it will arrange for another round of market consultation, and it aims to implement these regulations urgently, by early 2017.