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Last Updated : Aug 17, 2015 09:50 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Here is how Insurance Act protects policyholders‘ interests

Various provisions of insurance act ensure that the interests of the policyholders are not compromised in any situation, even if insurance company becomes insolvent.

Naval Goel
Policyx.com

The Insurance Act is the overarching law governing the insurance sector in India. It details out the obligations and rights of not only the insurers but policy holders, intermediaries, mutually and individually. Every company doing business in the insurance sector in India has to comply with the Companies Act and Insurance Act. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is the regulatory body responsible to oversee the conduct and operations of insurance companies.

What does the Act bring to you?

The Insurance Act safeguards interests of policy holders and provides guidance to insurers. It also defines investment and finance related guidelines.

Section 35: As per this section, an insurer cannot wind up its business owing to its liabilities towards the masses. An insurance company can undergo merger and can be acquired as per the guidelines. So, you do not have to worry about insolvency of an insurance company whether private or public. Your investments in insurance are safe.

Section 38(1): You often come across advertisements and public messages that a life insurance policy is a subject matter of solicitation. It can be assigned with or without consideration. The policy can be endorsed as a separate deed also. Under this section, the assignment must be witnessed by at least one person. Many times, people do not pay heed to this clause. However, it is advisable to get a genuine witness signing on your policy deed.

Section 38(2): This section specifies that a policy becomes effective the moment it is executed. This implies that a policy holder becomes eligible for all the due facilities mentioned in the plan, once it is signed by both the parties and the plan is issued.

Section 38(3): An insurance company should settle claims in the order it receives applications. This section justifies equality and rules out preferential treatment for any policyholders. Thus, your apprehension about getting secondary treatment or undue delay in settlement of claims is dealt by this section of the Act.

Section 38(4): This section makes it compulsory for an insurer to issue acknowledgement of the claim raised by a policy holder. There is no way out and an insurer cannot shrug off responsibilities saying that it did not receive the claim. You can invoke this section if this happens.

Section 38(5): The insurance company shall recognise the policy holder or his or her authorised nominee as the person entitled to receive any claims. No company can deny giving claims to your authorised nominee/s.

Section 39(1): This section empowers a policy holder to choose a nominee, to receive the claim amount in case of his death. The nomination can be done any time before the maturity of the policy.

In case the nominee is a minor i.e. below the age of 18 years, the policy holder can appoint a person who can receive the money on his nominee’s behalf and transfer it to the nominee once he or she attains the age of 18 years.

Section 39(2): It is preferred that nomination is done at the time of procuring the policy. However, it is not mandatory and a policy holder can appoint a nominee any time during the tenure of the policy. But it is policy holder’s obligation to duly inform the insurance company about the nomination.

Section 39(3): On receiving intimation about a nomination, the insurance company, under this section, must give written acknowledgement to the policy holder.

Section 39(4): A nomination can be cancelled by the policy holder. There is a procedure for this aspect and you can contact your service provider for this.

Section 39(5): There can be multiple nominees in a policy. In case of death of nominee/s, claims can be paid to legal heirs of the policy holder.

Section 39(6): The claim amount should be paid to nominee/s. This amount should be paid in proportions defined by the policy holder.

Developing awareness and understanding of the above clauses can play a central role in ensuring a hassle-free experience with insurance related transactions and dealings.

For those who follow the procedures, the Insurance Act has provided all the powers to get justice and practice your rights. At the same time, there is no place for manipulation and misuse of the provisions of the Act as they are governed by strict IRDA directives and guidelines.
First Published on Aug 17, 2015 09:50 am
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