Insurance ombudsman accepting complaints online

Allowing customers of insurers to register complaints online as well as conducting hearings in virtual mode are two measures the offices of Insurance Ombudsmen has implemented in the backdrop of the pandemic.

Insurance Ombudsman for Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Yanam N. Sankaran said this while highlighting the initiatives to make the process of seeking redress easier for the customers. Besides filing online, which customers seem to prefer, the other option available to them is to post their complaint or approach the office in person with their grievance.

The 17 offices of Insurance Ombudsman across the country permitted online registration of complaints since February. “The hearings are also conducted in a virtual mode,” considering the pandemic from last year. “It is comfortable for everybody,” the former IRS officer, who took over as Ombudsman in the office recently, said during a media interaction here on Thursday.

A release from the office said during 2020-21, the offices of Insurance Ombudsmen received 35,019 complaints and disposed of 30,596. The office in Hyderabad received 2,115 complaints and disposed of 2,078. Till October 31, in the current fiscal, it had received 1,393 complaints and disposed 1,306.

According to a consumer education website of insurance regulator IRDAI, individual policyholders can approach the Ombudsman if their complaint to the insurance company concerned was rejected by the firm; not resolved to their satisfaction; not responded to for 30 days. The complaint should pertain to any policy taken as an individual and the value of the claim, including expenses claimed, is not above ₹30 lakh. The grounds on which the complaint can be filed include delay in settlement of claims, beyond the time specified in the regulations; either partial or total repudiation of claims by the life, general or health insurer; dispute about premium paid or payable in terms of insurance policy; as well as pertaining to policy servicing related grievances against insurers and their agents and intermediaries.

Policyholders approaching the offices of Insurance Ombudsmen neither need to pay any fees for resolution of the complaint nor engage the services of a legal counsel, said Mr. Sankaran. He was speaking on the occasion of Bima Lokpal Day, which is celebrated on November 11 to mark the foundation day of the institution of Insurance Ombudsman.

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