The Insurance Awareness Day, commemorating the formation of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), was celebrated by IRDAI on April 19, 2016 at Hyderabad.
The Finals of the Pan-India Insurance Awareness Quiz was held in the forenoon. Teams from four insurance companies participated in the final. While the team from National Insurance was the winner, the team from Exide Life was runner up.
This was followed by a Panel Discussion on Best Insurance Awareness Policies moderated by Shri P.J. Joseph, Member (Non-Life). The panel was unanimous about having a multipronged and multi-agency approach towards insurance awareness with print, electronic and social media involving all stakeholders viz., insurance companies, educational institutions, insurance councils, IRDAI, other regulators and Government, customising the content and delivery in accordance with the target audience. The members felt that the insurance penetration would increase when insurance awareness can be promoted to make general public realize the need for insurance and aware of the dos and don’ts while purchasing and availing of insurance services and channels of grievance redressal. The panel was unanimous that the simple social insurance schemes launched by the government and publicity by all stakeholders for popularizing these schemes can positively improve insurance inclusion. Three Cs viz. Customer education, claim handling and complaint resolution can help insurers to build and reinforce confidence in the insurance sector, which can serve as a positive reinforcement for greater insurance inclusion both in life and general insurance including health insurance segments.
The main function in the afternoon started with the lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest Dr. Y. V. Reddy, Chairman, 14th Finance Commission and Former Governor of RBI.
Shri TS Vijayan, Chairman, IRDAI, in his welcome address, gave a brief outline about the developments in the insurance sector since opening of the insurance sector for private participation and setting up of IRDAI and the important developments during the year 2015-16 consequent upon the delegation of greater regulatory powers to IRDAI through the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015.
Continuing with the practice of launching consumer education material prepared by IRDAI, the Handbooks on Life insurance riders; Insurance Sector’s Grievance Redressal; andHouseholders and Shopkeepers policies were released by the Chief Guest. Prizes were distributed to the winners of the Insurance awareness quiz and South Zone winners of the National Financial Literacy Assessment Test conducted by National Centre for Financial Education.
Addressing the participants, the Chief Guest, Dr YV Reddy, talked about the importance of insurance awareness given the peculiarities of financial services in comparison to any other goods or services as financial services are exchange of claims over time, space, uses and risks, information asymmetry between the financial intermediary and the customer, limited liability and highly leveraged nature of entities. The role of financial regulator would be to repose trust of the members of public on the financial sector and the financial intermediaries. He stated that the emphasis of financial regulators on financial inclusion started with the global financial crisis. However, he cautioned that financial inclusion is a means and not the end for economic development and other aspects of progress. While appreciating the efforts of the IRDAI in promoting insurance literacy through a call centre, consumer education website etc., he urged upon IRDAI to consider realigning the call centre as a query centre to provide generic information for financial literacy at the point of need on a 24X7 basis in regional languages. He appreciated the efforts taken by IRDAI in building a competitive and sound insurance sector, thereby fulfilling the dual roles of policyholder protection and ensuring orderly growth of the insurance sector, making it unique and respected insurance regulators in the world.
Ms. Pournima Gupte, Member (Actuary) proposed the vote of thanks.