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Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) NOW renamed as ‘Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI).The change in name came in to effect after the promulgation of Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014, by the President of India on December 26, 2014.


Founded: 1999

Sector: Insurance

Headquarters: Hyderabad

Type: Statutory corporation

Chairperson: Mr Debasish Panda

What is Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI)?

IRDAI is the regulatory body in India that governs both Life insurance and General insurance companies. India is a vast country that offers great opportunities to varied segments one of which is the insurance sector.

Let us understand the concept of insurance regulator in a simple way. India witnesses the concept of a joint family where the head, most commonly the grandparents, acts as the guardian of each member. The head takes care of everyone’s needs and maintains a balance for fair practices to keep the family united. He treats everyone equal and helps the family in crisis guiding them on how to steer out of it.  Now, Similar to how the head of the family plays, IRDAI runs the Indian insurance industry as per its set rules and guidelines.

What is the purpose of IRDAI?

Insurance in India dates back to the year 1850 with the first General Insurance company established in Calcutta. Soon, with the passage of years the market became competitive as many insurers started emerging both in life and non-life sectors.

Each company practised business on its rates and rules. It made customers’ insecure which brought the credibility of the insurance market at stake. As early as the government realized this fact, they thought of securing the customer’s interest first and hence established an independent regulatory body called IRDAI.

Over time, new demands rolled and the market got flooded with several insurance products. Like a responsible head of the family would act to prevent the family from any damage, IRDAI monitors the development of the insurance industry and other related activities.

How does IRDAI work?

Consider that to run any professional set-up or otherwise, it is very important to maintain decorum. And so, the one who breaks the rule and disturbs the peace needs to be checked immediately. Similar to this, IRDAI works and acts as mentioned below in different situations.

IRDAI is an autonomous body with the only mission to regulate fair practices in the insurance market to prevent loss of customers. The industry is now expected to reach US$280 billion by the year 2020. It poses that there is a long way to go and hence there arises a dire need for IRDAI actions. To keep up the growth, here is how IRDAI works:

To protect the interest of policyholders at the time of claims, issuance of the policy, and cancellation of the policy is the ultimate motive. Hence, it monitors that no insurance company can deny the claim on their free will unless it falls beyond the scope of the cover.

There is a need to tame the market to a single tune which brings the players together and then compete with each other simply based on the discounts. And so, IRDAI clearly states the code of conduct for all insurance companies, surveyors, and loss assessors.

To prevent any misdeed, it calls for both annual or need-based audit, conduct investigation, call for information from either the insurance companies or intermediaries.

Regulate the rates and terms offered by the insurance companies to bring equality for the customers.

If there arises any dispute between the insurer and the policyholder, then IRDAI will step in to provide a resolution.

To prevent different insurers quote rates as per their convenience, they bound the major risks to the Tariff Advisory Committee. After this, the insurers keep in mind the percentage of premium income they would need to fund the professional organizations.

Keeping in mind the development of both the urban and the rural sector, IRDAI bounds the insurers with a minimum percentage to carry both life and non -life business.

The scope of work is wide and IRDAI as a body works abiding its limit without favoring any single insurance companies.

Role of IRDAI in the Insurance Sector in India

At one point of time, some insurance companies used to deny coverage to their policyholders. The basis of the denial was either their choice of business to underwrite or was their understanding of good risk and bad risk. To regulate the market and minimize any sort of partial acts, the IRDAI was established.

Like the banking system in India is regulated as per the guidelines of RBI. It restricts the bankers to not behave unruly with the account holders. The banking institutes are allowed to offer loans and interest as per the rates pre-defined by RBI. It leaves no room for the monopoly to take over which in turn works best for the masses. Financial Institutes like banks and insurance companies will be successful in our democracy until market practices are for the majority and not just for fraction of people.

IRDAI on the same lines of industrial practice plays a vital role like

Ensures and encourages the systematic growth of the insurance industry just to benefit the common people who invest in policies to look for safety.

Protects the interest of the policyholders so that they trust the system.

Promote high standards of integrity and fair dealings in the market.

Resolve disputes of all kinds and speed up claim settlement.

Set standards and conduct vigilance to check for scams or frauds.

The Indian economy is growing which further promotes the entrance of new insurance players in the market. To keep the pace of growth even-handed, IRDAI needs to maintain standards of quality. It will further contribute to strengthening the financial capacity of a country as a whole.

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