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The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has always come down heavily on insurance companies that fail to address policyholders complaints in an effective and timely manner.
This time, New India Assurance is on the receiving end, with the regulator slapping a penalty of Rs 1,00,000 for non-compliance of regulations.
Shri Hemendra Mehta filed a complaint against New India Assurance Company in the matter of non-refund of Mediclaim premium for the period the insured was staying abroad, in spite of the insurer’s email communication of 24.11.2009, stating that refund can be considered for the period of stay outside India during the policy period.
The authority sought explanation from New India Assurance for the delay in resolving the policyholder’s complaint. On failure of response from the insurance company, IRDA issued a notice dated 11.5.2010 upon New India Assurance to show cause as to why appropriate action in terms of the provisions of the Insurance Act, 1938 and the IRDA Act, 1999 should not be initiated against them.
In response to this, New India Assurance conceded that they had, inadvertently, not mentioned the requirement of an OMP Policy in their communication. The insurer also said that they have taken a ‘generous view’ on the matter and effected refund on 26.5.2010, thereby requesting the regulator to condone the delay in replying to them.
The authority observed that New India took 7 months to redress the policyholder’s complaint and over 2 months to respond to the letter sent by the Grievance Cell. New India violated Regulations 10 & 5 of IRDA (Protection of Policyholders’ Interests) Regulations 2002, and hence has imposed a fine of Rs 1,00,000 in favour of IRDA, which needs to be paid within 15 days.
The insurance watchdog has once again reinstated the fact that protection of policyholder’s interests is of the highest priority, and that any kind of delay in resolution will not be well accepted.
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