Irda cautions insurance cos on branch closure

The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (Irda) has noticed that places of business of the insurers are being closed /relocated without proper notices to the policyholders causing them a lot of inconvenience.

IRDA has therefore advised, Insurance companies that the decision for closure/relocation of their places of business (regardless of their nomenclature and/or the type of services provided thereat) should be after due consideration of all the factors including the possible inconveniences to its clientele.

It is essential that such a decision is appropriately apprised to the Board for information with the reasons therefor, since the proposal for opening the branches/offices were initially approved by the Board.

Such closures should also need to be reported to IRDA within one month from the date of such closure.

IRDA has also decided to standardize the classification of places of business adopted by various insurers and to compile a database of the offices of insurers. To achieve this objective, insurers are advised to classify their existing branch offices into Metro/Urban and Rural branches based on the classification provided by the latest decennial population census (Census of India). They are further advised that the classification details along with the postal address of the branch should be filed with the Authority in hard/soft forms not later than February 28, 2007.

While seeking fresh approvals, details of proposed places of business along with the classification, will be required to furnished to IRDA.

Now Adequate notice of a minimum of 2 months on the proposed relocation/closure will need to be given to policyholders serviced by that branch along with the alternate arrangements being made to service them.

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