Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is an autonomous and statutory body constituted under the IRDA Act, 1999. It was recommended by R N Malhotra (former Governor of RBI) committee which was set up in 1993 to propose recommendations for reforms in the insurance sector. IRDAI is tasked to regulate and promote life insurance, general insurance, reinsurance and other insurance-related industries in India. Initially, it was headquartered in Delhi but later in 2001, it was shifted to Hyderabad.

Members of IRDAI

Section 4 of IRDAI Act 1999 specifies about the members of insurance regulatory body. It is a 10 member body, consisting of a chairman, 5 full-time members and 4 part-time members appointed by the central government.

IRDAI Chairman

Subash Chandra Kuntia, IRDAI Chairman

Currently, the chairman is Subash Chander Khuntia and the other full-time members are:

  • P.J. Joseph
  • Nilesh Sathe
  • Poumima Gupte
  • Praveen Kutumbe
  • Sujay Banerjee

Functions of IRDAI

Functions of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India are defined under section 14 of IRDAI Act, 1999. Some of the Important functions of IRDAI are as mentioned below:

  1. To issue, renew, modify, withdraw, suspend or cancel the registration of insurance companies.
  2. To protect the interest of policyholders.
  3. To specify qualification, the code of conduct and training for intermediaries and agents.
  4. Levying fees and other charges.
  5. To specify the percentage of premium income to finance schemes for regulating and promoting professional organisations.
  6. To supervise the tariff advisory committee.
  7. To inspect and investigate insurers, intermediaries and other relevant organisations.

What is Insurance Repository?

The Insurance Repository in India is a database of insurance policies. An Insurance Repository (IR) is a company licensed by IRDAI for maintaining data of insurance policies in electronic form on behalf of Insurers. Insurance Repository was first launched in September 2013 by IRDAI & issued licenses to 5 entities to act as insurance repositories. However, the SHCIL projects limited surrendered its license in September 2015 and the remaining four are:

  • CAMS Insurance Repository Services Limited ( first to start acting as the insurance repository).
  • CDSL Insurance Repository Limited.
  • Karvy Insurance Repository Limited.
  • National Insurance policy Repository Limited by NSDL Database Management Limited.

All such entities must contain the word “Insurance Repository” in their names. While a policyholder needs to open an e insurance account (EIA) with one of the Insurance Repositories to be able to buy and keep policies in the electronic mode. An individual can have only one electronic Insurance Repository account with any one of the Insurance Repositories.

The benefits of holding an Insurance policy and electronic form is increased safety, more convenience, single KYC (know your customer) and less paperwork. With an electronic Insurance Repository account, a policyholder can access all its policies whether it is life insurance policy, health insurance policy, general insurance policy or others more easily.

Insurance Ombudsman

The institution of Insurance Ombudsman (like Banking Ombudsman) was created by the Government of India in November 1998. It was done basically for quick disposal of grievances of insured customers and to mitigate their problems related to redressal of their grievances. Insurance Ombudsman help to protect the interests of policyholders and to build their confidence in the system. 

The Insurance Ombudsman is appointed by the governing body of insurance council. The insurance council comprises of members of Life insurance council and General insurance council formed under the section 40C of Insurance Act, 1938.

The Insurance Ombudsman is appointed for a period of 3 years or till the incumbent attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. Reappointment is not permitted for Insurance Ombudsman. An Insurance Ombudsman can be a person either from the insurance industry, a civil servant or from the judicial services.

The Ombudsman shall pass an award within a period of 3 months from the receipt of a complaint. The award is binding on the insurance companies. If a policyholder is not satisfied with the decision of Insurance Ombudsman, he or she may approach higher authorities like judicial system.

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