The Government of India has notified comprehensive amendments to the Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017, for better resolution of policyholders’ complaints regarding insurance service deficiencies, in a timely, cost-effective and impartial manner. This will help in facilitating the resolution of the complaints with respect to the deficiencies in insurance services in a cost-effective and impartial manner on time.
What are those amendments?
- The Ombudsman mechanism was administered by the Executive Council of Insurers. This has now been renamed as the Council for Insurance Ombudsmen.
- Earlier, the scope of complaints to Ombudsmen was limited to only disputes, but now it has been enlarged to include deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries.
- The insurance brokers have also been brought within the ambit of the Ombudsman mechanism. The Ombudsmen has been empowered to pass awards against insurance brokers as well.
- To strengthen the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of the mechanism, policyholders will now be enabled for making complaints electronically to the Ombudsman.
- A complaints management system will be created to enable policyholders to track the status of their complaints online.
- The rules also provide that, the ombudsman can use video-conferencing to hear the cases.
Who is an ombudsman?
Ombudsman is an official who is appointed to investigate the complaints regarding the service or on an administrative authority. The ombudsman is usually appointed by governments however, the private companies can also appoint them. The Indian government has appointed an ombudsman to resolve the grievances with respect to income tax, banking and insurance.