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Customer complaints and grievance redressal is extremely important and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has always pressed on this fact. This time the authority has released guidelines for grievance redressal by insurance companies.
Grievance or complaint has been clearly 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 asks for remedial action.
The insurance regulator has asked companies to have a proper system in place to receive, register and resolve customer grievances.
Moreover, insurance companies must address all grievances within a specific time-frame. An insurer is required to send a written acknowledgement within 3 days of receiving a complaint. This written acknowledgement must bear the name and designation of the officer who will deal with the query, along with details of the process and time taken for resolution.
All customer grievances must be resolved within 2 weeks, and the insurance company will have to send a written response which offers redress or rejects the complaint with reasons.
The written response will also specify that in case of a further dispute, the customer can get back to the company within 8 weeks from the date of receipt of the response. If the complainant does not respond within this time frame, the company will regard the complaint as closed.
The regulator has mandated companies to have automated systems in place to track and monitor all grievances.
IRDA has also asked insurance companies to have a system in place to receive and deal with all kinds of calls including voice or e-mail, which should enable and facilitate the required interfacing with IRDA’s system of handling calls or e-mails.
At the ET Insurance Summit, IRDA Chairman J Hari Narayan had made it clear that the regulator wants insurance companies to address customers’ complaints and wipe their tears before they emphasize on the importance of having an insurance policy.
IRDA also said that any company which fails to adhere to these guidelines will be penalized.
Also read IRDA Chairman at the ET Insurance Summit 2011