Rising complaints against life insurance companies underline the fact that misselling is still rampant. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (Irda) centralised Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) data show policyholder complaints against life insurers rose 10% in 2012-13. The data show unfair business practice complaints, where alleged misselling by insurance companies are placed, accounted for around 30% of the total complaints filed.
Irda launched the IGMS in 2011, which enables a policyholder to escalate any unresolved complaint or issue to the regulator and also track its resolution status online. A policyholder can access the portal at www.igms.irda.gov.in and register with all details. The system also allows a policyholder to lodge a complaint against an insurer — both life and non-life — a broker or an intermediary in respect of any point of sale, servicing or claims-related issues.
At the time of registration, the policyholder will have to enter unique identification parameters, which will then be used to log in. These could be mobile number, landline number, passport number, PAN or voter ID. Once registered, an individual can lodge complaints and track them through subsequent log-ins. A reference number will be generated for each unique complaint, which can be used to edit or track your complaint. The system's software will assign and track unique complaint IDs and also initiate pre-defined actions or intimations to all parties involved.
The policyholder should also keep in mind that the regulator's IGMS software can be used only if the complaint has already been registered with the insurer or the intermediary’s own grievance redressal mechanism. Also, the complainant must provide all relevant policy details and applicable history of the complaint. The system is integrated with every insurer's complaint management system and the policyholder is kept informed at every step. Moreover, if the policyholder is not satisfied with the resolution, he can escalate the complaint for a review by Irda.
Typically, for insurance companies, most consumer grievances are related to product features that are not explained at the time of selling the policy. Misselling of insurance products results in the policy getting lapsed because of non-payment of premiums. Analysts say examples like converting single-premium policies to regular Ulip policies, selling inappropriate products like Ulips for short-term goals, giving erroneous information on guaranteed products are most common customer grievances.
Other areas of consumer grievances are settlement proceeds not being received by the policyholder, surveyors not reaching