A Critical look at Grievance Redressal Mechanism In Indian Insurance Industry

The paper attempts a comprehensive view of grievance redressal system currently in vogue, in General Insurance Industry. An effort has been made to vent the aspirations of Insurance Customer by recognising his right to be heard (separate from the right of redressal) for making the industry respond with greater care & concern in containing the dissatisfaction.

This, the author suggests, may be attempted by using ‘alternative dispute resolution’ mechanisms, which is available, and being supported by legislation and judicial system. This will be, hopefully, a speedy, efficient and inexpensive mechanism. Further, the author has also reviewed the Law Commissions’ recommendations and KPN Committee Report in regard to grievance redressal machinery.

The paper also looks at the proposed mechanism vis- a- vis continuation of existing mechanism and need to have an independent redressal system, exclusively for the insurance industry. Insurance industry is essentially a service industry where in the present context, the customer expectations are ever rising and dissatisfaction from the tandard of services rendered is ever present. Despite there being continuous product innovation and significant improvement in the level of customer services with he use of modern technology, the industry suffers badly in terms of customer dissatisfaction and poor image. Alive to this situation the Government and the Regulator have taken a number of initiatives.

These initiatives include institution of Insurance Ombudsman, in 1998 and Protection of Policy Holders Interests in 2002. In this Context, it is worth noting that the KPN Committee in 2005 has recommended for continuation of the institution of Insurance Ombudsman3. However, the Law Commission has recommended for establishment of ‘Grievance Redressal Authority’ (GRA) by replacing the Insurance Ombudsman and transfer of all disputes pending with the Consumer Redressal Agencies.

By Govind Johri, Published in Insurance Times October and November 2007 issue

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