With a view to upgrade the Insurance Ombudsman mechanism to better facilitate resolution of complaints in a worthwhile manner, the Union government announced a series of amendments to the Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017, Ministry of Finance said.
“The amended rules have enlarged the scope of complaints to Ombudsmen from only disputes earlier to deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries. Further, insurance brokers have been brought within the ambit of the Ombudsman mechanism, by empowering the Ombudsmen to pass awards against insurance brokers as well,” stated an official statement.
Electronic complaints can now be directed to the Ombudsman with a complaints management system in place to enable policyholders to track the complaints status online. Video-conferencing may also be used by the Ombudsman for hearings.
“To enable access to relief through the Ombudsman mechanism even when there is vacancy in the office of a particular Ombudsman, provision has been made for giving additional charge to another Ombudsman, pending the filling of the vacancy,” it stated further.
A series of amendments have been made to ensure the independence and integrity of the selection process of the Ombudsman with a view to secure the independence and impartiality of the appointee.
The Ombudsman mechanism has been renamed as the Council for Insurance Ombudsmen and will be regulated by the Executive Council of Insurers.
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