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In its notification dated 13th April 2017, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India laid down the IRDAI (Insurance Web Aggregators) Regulations, 2017 for Insurance aggregators. With the introduction of these rules, IRDA aims to supervise and monitor Web Aggregators to curb aggressive selling of insurance products and clarify various ambiguities that existed in the erstwhile rules.
What are Insurance web aggregators?
Insurance Web Aggregators are online portals, which provide customers on various information on insurance products of different insurers. They serve as a platform for analyzing the products of different insurers and deciding which one to buy.
What are the benefits/role of Insurance Web Aggregators?
Web aggregators provide the following benefits:
- They help in comparing different insurance products by providing all the necessary information.
- It saves time and effort in comparing multiple products offline.
- They serve as a platform for insurers to display their products and attract customers.
However, Insurance aggregators cannot provide ratings and reviews to any product. Also, they cannot indulge in advertisements for the products.
Key aspects of the IRDAI (Insurance Web Aggregators) Regulations, 2017
Some key aspects of the regulations:
Conditions regarding application for registration as a web aggregator:
- The Insurance Web Aggregator shall be a company registered under the Companies Act, 2013
- The application for obtaining the certificate of registration as “Insurance Web Aggregator” shall be made to IRDA in Form A.
- A non-refundable fee of rupees ten thousand plus applicable taxes has to be paid along with the application by way of a demand draft
- The application will not be processed without the application fee.
- Option for seeking permission for Outsourcing and Telemarketing functions/ facility shall be specifically mentioned in the Application Form.
- All other conditions mentioned in these Regulations are to be fulfilled by the applicant along with the submission of necessary documents as mentioned in Form B
Conditions relating to Capital requirement:
- The minimum paid-up capital/ contribution of an insurance web aggregator should be rupees twenty- five lakhs.
- The capital of the Insurance Web Aggregators shall be consisting of Equity Shares only.
- The contribution of partners in case of LLP shall be made only in cash.
- The shares of the Insurance Web Aggregator at any time shall not be pledged in any manner or form to secure credit or any other facility
Conditions relating to Net worth
- The net worth of an Insurance Aggregator must not be less than below 100% of the minimum capital requirements or contribution
- Insurance Web Aggregators shall every six months review the status of the net-worth as at 30th September, and 31st March every year
- Any non-compliance shall be reported to IRDA within 15 days.
- The requirements of minimum net worth shall be met within 30 days of reporting and the intimation shall be sent to IRDA
- If any insurance web aggregator fails to maintain the minimum net-worth even after 30 days, it shall immediately stop indulging in insurance related business/ activity.
- A certificate on the net worth of the Insurance web aggregator duly certified by a Chartered Accountant shall be submitted to IRDA every year after the finalization of books of accounts.
Grant of registration certificate by IRDA
When the application is filed after fulfilling all the required conditions and after submitting all the required documents, the IRDA will accept the application and grant the registration certificate to the applicant.
Validity of certificate of registration:
The certificate of registration issued holds validity for a period of three years from the date of its issue unless the same is suspended or cancelled by the IRDA.
Rejection of certificate
An incomplete application is liable for rejection. However, before rejection, an opportunity will be given to complete the formalities within 30 days. If no intimation is received within 30 days, the application will be rejected,
Renewal of Registration of Insurance Web Aggregator
- Application for renewal of registration is filed in Form F thirty days before the expiry of the registration.
- The requisite documents that shall be submitted by the applicant along with the renewal application
- The renewal application shall also be accompanied with a fee of Twenty Five thousand rupees plus applicable taxes paid by way of a bank draft.
Other conditions on corporate governance
- Every Insurance Web Aggregator shall have a policy on “manner of soliciting insurance products” approved by the Board, which shall be reviewed at least once in three years.
- Every Insurance Web Aggregator shall maintain a professional indemnity insurance cover throughout the registration period
- Prior approval of IRDA shall be obtained for any change in its name.
- There should not be any arrangements between Insurance Web Aggregators and with the insurers which are against the interests of policyholders;
- Any arrangements entered into between web aggregators and the insurer shall comply with the details mentioned in Form L.
- Insurance Web Aggregator shall not indulge in the promotion of any product of a particular company through any mode.
- Every Insurance Web Aggregator shall prepare a balance sheet, profit & loss account; an income and expense statement; a statement of cash/fund flow for every Financial Year.
Disclosures to the IRDA
- The Web Aggregator shall make all such disclosures to IRDA as given in Form N.
- The Insurance Web Aggregator shall furnish half-yearly returns to the IRDA before 31st October or 30th April giving details its business insurer wise and product wise.
- On examination of the returns furnished by the Web Aggregator, the IRDA may issue such directions or advice to the web aggregators as it may deem fit
With the introduction of these regulations, all kinds of insurance products can be now sold on the web aggregators’ portals. It also raised the ticket size of the policies from fifty thousand to One lakh fifty thousand. Further, remuneration on zero-commission policies is allowed to be paid to the Insurance aggregators. It has also streamlined the business of Insurance Web aggregators thus helping in a significant way to curb aggressive selling of insurance products.