Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, has urged the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), Hyderabad, to appoint an Ombudsman at Ahmedabad urgently as the post has been vacant since September 2010. The Chairman of CERC, Dr. V. G. Patel, regretted in a written representation to the IRDA Chairman, Mr. J. Harinarayan, that in the absence of an Ombudsman, the aggrieved parties have been considerably inconvenienced, especially when simultaneous recourse to consumer court is not possible as per legal provision, and the entire working of the grievance redressal machinery has been disrupted.
Dr. Patel also pointed out that CERC has been one of the premier consumer organisations in the country serving consumers for the past 32 years. It has been handling a large number of consumer complaints of varied nature and also providing legal assistance to the aggrieved. It has also taken up an important cause of consumer education and advocacy, he added.
“Handling of insurance grievances has been one of the most important areas of our activities,” said Dr. Patel in his representation. “We have taken up cases and represented our member consumers in consumer courts. Our basic approach has been conciliatory and mediation by establishing dialogue and negotiation with insurance companies”.
Dr. Patel underlined the fact that the institution of Insurance Ombudsman had been extremely useful in providing remedies to aggrieved insuring public. Ombudsman at Ahmedabad had been expeditious in settling matters when there were inordinate delays in courts, including consumer courts. “Insuring public in Gujarat have taken great benefit through Ahmedabad Ombudsman,” he added, requesting the IRDA Chairman to fill the vacancy urgently.