1. The basic framework for protection of policyholders’ interests of insurance consumers is contained in the IRDA (Protection of Policyholders’ Interests) Regulations 2002.
2. The insurance sector has undergone several changes over the years. While increase in number of insurers, new categories of insurance intermediaries, diversity in the products on offer, new channels of raising customer grievances etc. have helped the cause of consumers, increasing complaints especially those alleging mis-sale of policies in the life insurance sector and delay in settlement of claims in the non-life insurance sector are causes of concern. The non-legislative recommendations of Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) contain measures for enhancing financial consumer protection at all stages of financial transaction and securing fair treatment of customers. The consumer protection related provisions are contained in guidelines or instructions which need to be brought into the Regulations meant for policyholder protection. In this background, it was imperative to revisit the IRDA (Protection of Policyholders Interest) Regulations, 2002 for strengthening the measures for policyholder protection.
3. The Standing Advisory Committee for Consumer Affairs related matters constituted by IRDA under the Chairmanship of Shri DD Singh, Member (Distribution) was entrusted with a one-time task of reexamining the customer protection framework in insurance industry and suggesting changes to the PPHI Regulations. Based on the deliberations of the Committee, IRDA has now come out with the draft IRDA (Protection of Policyholders Interest) Regulations, 2014.
4. The Guidelines on Grievance Redressal Framework, Complaint handling procedure, Enforcement of Rights of consumer containing protection as recommended by FSLRC and Corporate Governance Guidelines for policyholder protection have been included in the Regulations as Annexures. Model Citizens Charter with an indicative list of services has also been included as an Annexure to serve as the basis for each company to draw up a Citizen’s Charter for its customers.
5. The Draft of IRDA (Protection of Policyholders Interest) Regulations, 2014 along with Annexures has today been placed on the website of IRDA (www.irda.gov.in) and consumer education website of IRDA (www.policyholder.gov.in) for inviting public comments from all stakeholders.