Flash back to 1990s: An insurance company’s office is full of people who are running around from one desk to another to get their queries responded. Insurance is provided by public sector companies only and there is no private company in the sector. Reason being,the sector is not opened for the private sector participation and government-run companies are enjoying undue monopoly.
Coming back to the present: Things have got transformed in a major way and there are miles to go. There are more than 25 insurance companies which are operating in the sector. Both public and private sector companies are provided a level-playing field.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) have introduced several measures which are re-defining the industry and helping in raising the levels of consumer service. There are many steps which are bringing intangible benefits to consumers and there are some which are tangible in nature.
What are the tangible benefits?
Let’s take an instance here. The authority has successfully removed all the ambiguity around timelines. Until some time back, insurance companies had luxury to work at their own pace.
You may have heard about people who got their insurance claims after a very long period running into several months and sometimes years. There was no mechanism to acknowledge and resolve consumer complaints.
But now things have changed. There is a prescribed turnaround time limit for consumer related matters.
In case of life insurance, an insurance company has to settle death related claim in a matter of 30 days. If there are doubts and a need for investigation to authenticate the claim, then it has to be done within 6 months.
There is no space for open-endedness. Also, an insurance company has to clarify on its requirements within 15 days, if a policy holder or his/her nominee/s raise claim. There are millions of cases under which insurance companies do not respond to consumer and after a long period, they come up with some list of requirement. This kind of wastage of time is not entertained anymore.
Health and general insurance
In case of the above categories of insurance, a company has to prepare its survey or assessment report within 30 days after receiving the claim from a consumer. If the insurer seeks any additional information, it has to be done within the 15 days period.
Grievance redressal system
As per the IRDAI guidelines, all the insurance companies in India have a pre-defined consumer grievance redressal mechanism in place. Consumers are first required to approach the committees which are empowered by the insurance company management to resolve consumer complaints.
Once you send an email to the company’s customer care email ID, it has to acknowledge the receipt within 24 hours. Thereafter, the complaint needs to be resolved in a period of 15 days. If you are not satisfied with the decision taken by the company you can escalate the matter to IRDAI directly.
The process is very simple. If you are net savvy, then you can simply register your complaint on the website of the IRDAI’s Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) at http://igms.irda.gov.in/
Once you register a complaint, you are provided a complaint registration number. Through this number, you can login to your account and track the status of your complaint.
This system works very efficiently and most complaints are resolved within 30-60 days. The decision taken by the IRDAI Ombudsman is transparent and justified in nature.
So, do you still think that your rights can be suppressed? I think, no!
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Naval Goel is the Founder & CEO of PolicyX.com which was established in the year 2013. Naval has an expertise in the insurance sector and has a professional experience of more than 5 years in the industry. Before venturing into the field of entrepreneurship, Naval had worked with top companies like AIG in New York as a part of their corporate team. He is also an Associate Member of the 'Indian Institute of Insurance', Pune.View Complete Profile
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