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Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA)

As per the section 4 of IRDA Act' 1999, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA, which was constituted by an act of parliament) specify the composition of Authority

The Authority is a ten member team consisting of

(a) a Chairman;
(b) five whole-time members;
(c) four part-time members,
(all appointed by the Government of India)

Section 14 of IRDA Act, 1999 lays down the duties, powers and functions of IRDA

Subject to the provisions of this Act and any other law for the time being in force, the Authority shall have the duty to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance business and re-insurance business.

1. Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in sub-section (1), the powers and functions of the Authority shall include, -

o issue to the applicant a certificate of registration, renew, modify, withdraw, suspend or cancel such registration;

o protection of the interests of the policy holders in matters concerning assigning of policy, nomination by policy holders, insurable interest, settlement of insurance claim, surrender value of policy and other terms and conditions of contracts of insurance;

o specifying requisite qualifications, code of conduct and practical training for intermediary or insurance intermediaries and agents

o specifying the code of conduct for surveyors and loss assessors;

o promoting efficiency in the conduct of insurance business;

o promoting and regulating professional organisations connected with the insurance and re-insurance business;

o levying fees and other charges for carrying out the purposes of this Act;

o calling for information from, undertaking inspection of, conducting enquiries and investigations including audit of the insurers, intermediaries, insurance intermediaries and other organisations connected with the insurance business;

o control and regulation of the rates, advantages, terms and conditions that may be offered by insurers in respect of general insurance business not so controlled and regulated by the Tariff Advisory Committee under section 64U of the Insurance Act, 1938 (4 of 1938);

o specifying the form and manner in which books of account shall be maintained and statement of accounts shall be rendered by insurers and other insurance intermediaries;

o regulating investment of funds by insurance companies;

o regulating maintenance of margin of solvency;

o adjudication of disputes between insurers and intermediaries or insurance intermediaries;

o supervising the functioning of the Tariff Advisory Committee;

o specifying the percentage of premium income of the insurer to finance schemes for promoting and regulating professional organisations referred to in clause (f);

o specifying the percentage of life insurance business and general insurance business to be undertaken by the insurer in the rural or social sector; and

o exercising such other powers as may be prescribed

Insurance Ombudsman

The institution of Insurance Ombudsman was created by a Government of India Notification dated 11th November, 1998 with the purpose of quick disposal of the grievances of the insured customers and to mitigate their problems involved in redressal of those grievances. This institution is of great importance and relevance for the protection of interests of policy holders and also in building their confidence in the system. The institution has helped to generate and sustain the faith and confidence amongst the consumers and insurers.

Insurance Industry has ombudsmen in 12 cities. Each ombudsmen is empowered to redress customer grievances in respect of insurance contracts on personal lines where the insured amount is less than Rs. 20 lakhs, in accordance with the Ombudsmen Scheme.

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