New Delhi: To help policyholders track their life insurance agents throughout the tenure of their policy, the insurance regulator is developing a website that will hold key details on the middlemen.
The website is expected to be launched in July.
There are about 2.5 million life insurance agents in India, according to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (Irda) latest annual report.
“The portal will now give policyholders a chance to contact and get other details of their agents,” said A. Giridhar, executive director, Irda. “It will also have a grievance cell where the portal will act as (an) interface between an insured and an insurer. Currently, we have a grievance cell but this will be more interactive to track on which stage the complaint is.”
“The (online) grievance cell will help in speedy settlement of claims, which otherwise get delayed due to (the) lengthy process.
The grievance cell will help in seamless communication,” said the chief executive of a life insurance company on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to talk on the subject.
The website may also hold details to help potential or existing policyholders compare products, as well as guide people who are not sponsored by any company to become agents, said Giridhar.
“The regulator has asked all life insurance companies to give suggestions on details that can be included in the portal,” said S.B. Mathur, secretary general of Life Insurance Council, an umbrella body of life insurers. “The portal will also help policyholders to get details of their agents and (they) can trace them in any case of mis-selling.”
Mathur said the website will show the current status of agents and their licence details, including any suspension or withdrawal.
Life insurance agents are paid a commission on any policy they sell. According to Irda’s guidelines, the commission depends on the type of insurance plan. For single-premium insurance products, the maximum commission is 2% of the premium, whereas for multiple or regular premium products, the rate is 15-30% of the premium in the first year, followed by 5-7% in subsequent years.
“This will be a check body on agents, especially for private companies. In LIC (Life Insurance Corp. of India) we already have (an) agents regulation body to report any fraud, which can lead to termination of (an) agent’s licence,” said Prem Singhal, a New Delhi-based LIC agent.