The office of the Insurance Ombudsman in Chandigarh has received the maximum number of complaints against insurance companies from Punjab for the year 2011-12.
Set up by the Ministry of Finance,the body is responsible for the reconciliation or settlement of grievances between complainants and insurance companies. A total of 2383 complains,were received by them for the year 2011-12 as compared to 2082 in the previous year 2010-11. Out of these 1678 were against private sector insurers and 705 were against public sector insurance companies.
The complaints in the life segment have risen from 1268 last year to 1782 this year,while in the non-life segment,the number decreased from 814 to 601.
Almost 91 per cent of the complaints were recorded from Punjab alone,followed by Haryana and Chandigarh. The office of the Insurance Ombudsman in Chandigarh is also authorized to receive complaints from Haryana,Himachal Pradesh,Jammu and Kashmir,and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
1885 complains were disposed of by the Insurance Ombudsman this year,including 254 cases of outstation hearings,as against the total 1143 complaints which had been disposed of last year. The average cost per complaint worked out to Rs 3342 in 2011-12 as compared to Rs 4870 in the previous year. Of the total cases reaching the office,1335 were found to be non-entertainable and out of the remaining 1048,78 percent were settled either by insurers themselves or by the way of awards passed by the office.
The maximum number of complaints from Chandigarh were disputes involving premiums paid or payable according to terms and conditions of the policy. These were 1258 in number. This was followed by 270 complaints regarding the partial or total repudiation of claims by an insurer. There were 216 complaints pertaining to delay in settlement of claims by insurance companies.
The annual report 2011-12 of the Insurance Ombudsman highlighted common issues related to overwriting and customer service. These included the active involvement of the insured at the time of filling up of the form by being properly briefed about the terms and conditions of the policy.
The report also proposed that the insurer endorse the fact that the customers should not hand over the cash premiums to the agents and that they need to personalize their agents to avoid the wrongful selling of policies.
The report stated that most complaints arose due to the unethical selling and unprofessional conduct of agents and observed that the insurance companies were not adhering to IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Agency) guidelines,resulting in an increased number of complaints.