A grievance is defined as any communication that expresses dissatisfaction about an action or lack of action, about the standard of service / deficiency of service of an insurance company and / or any intermediary or seeks remedial action.
Every insurer must ensure a grievance redressal mechanism is in place for providing excellent customer service which in turn is the most important tool for business growth.
Grievance redressal is based on the following principles
Customers are treated fairly at all times
Complaints raised by customers are dealt with an open mind, with courtesy
Customers are informed through policy document of avenues of escalation process of their complaints and grievances within the organization
To treat all complaints efficiently and fairly as they can damage the company’s reputation and business if not handled properly.
IRDAI has through various regulations mandated the following requirements to be complied with by all insurers
Policy holder can lodge a complaint in any of the manner as listed below
If one are unhappy with the insurance company procedures or claim settlement, one can
The insurance company should deal with all complaint within 15 days.
Address for communication for complaints by paper/fax:
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India
Consumer Affairs Department – Grievance Redressal Cell.
Sy.No.115/1, Financial District, Nanakramguda,
Gachibowli, Hyderabad – 500 032.
IRDAI guidelines on grievance redressal
Every insurer shall have a system and procedure for receiving, registering and disposing of grievances
in each of its offices. This and all other relevant details along with details of Turnaround Times (TATs) shall be clearly laid down in the policy. While insurers may lay down their own TATs, they shall ensure that the following minimum time frames are adopted:
(a). An insurer shall send a written acknowledgement to a complainant within 3 working days of the receipt of the grievance.
(b). The acknowledgement shall contain the name and designation of the officer who will deal with the grievance.
(c). It shall also contain the details of the insurer’s grievance redressal procedure and the time taken for resolution of disputes.
(d). Where the insurer resolves the complaint within 3 days, it may communicate the resolution along with the acknowledgement.
(e). Where the grievance is not resolved within 3 working days, an insurer shall resolve the grievance within 2 weeks of its receipt and send a final letter of resolution.
(g). Where, within 2 weeks, the company sends the complainant a written response which offers redress or rejects the complaint and gives reasons for doing so,
(i). the insurer shall inform the complainant about how he/she may pursue the complaint, if dissatisfied.
(ii). the insurer shall inform that it will regard the complaint as closed if it does not receive a reply
within 8 weeks from the date of receipt of response by the insured/policyholder. Any failure on the part of insurers to follow the above mentioned procedures and time-frames would attract penalties by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.
With an objective to provide a forum for resolving disputes and complaints from the aggrieved insured public or their legal heirs against Insurance Companies, the Government of India, in exercise of powers conferred on it u/s 114(1) of Insurance Act, 1938 framed "Redressal of Public Grievances Rules, 1998", which came into force w.e.f. 11th November, 1998. These Rules aim at resolving complaints relating to the settlement of disputes with Insurance Companies on personal lines of insurance, in a cost effective, efficient and impartial manner. These Rules apply to all the Insurance Companies operating in General Insurance business and Life Insurance business, in Public and Private Sectors.
To implement the above Rules, the Institution of Insurance Ombudsman has been established and is functioning since 1999. The Ombudsman functions within a set geographical jurisdiction and can entertain disputes relating to partial/total repudiation of claims, delay in settlement of claims, any dispute on the legal construction of the policies in so far as such disputes relate to claims, disputes regarding premium paid or payable in terms of the policy and non-issuance of insurance documents.
The Insurance Ombudsman is provided with a Secretarial Staff by the Governing Body of Insurance Council and such staff is drawn from Insurance Companies. The total expenses on running the Institution are shared by all Insurance Companies, who are Members of the Insurance Council.
The Insurance Ombudsman scheme was created by the Government of India for individual policyholders to have their complaints settled out of the courts system in a cost-effective, efficient and impartial way.
There are Insurance Ombudsman in different locations and any person who has a grievance against an insurer, may himself or through his legal heirs, nominee or assignee, make a complaint in writing to the Insurance ombudsman within whose territorial jurisdiction the branch or office of the insurer complained against or the residential address or place of residence of the complainant is located.
Complaint is to be lodged with the Insurance Ombudsman under whose territorial jurisdiction the insurer’s office falls, at the address provided in website / insurer communication which includes policy document.
Policyholders can approach the Ombudsman with complaint if:
He has first approached your insurance company with the complaint and
Complaint to the Ombudsman can be about:
The Ombudsman will act as mediator and
Once the Award is passed
There is no appellate authority governing Ombudsman order. The order is final & binding.
For IRDAI guidelines on Ombudsman and further information click here
The list of Insurance Ombudsman can be accessed here.