Insurance: How to make application under RTI Act

Policyholders who have complaints against insurers are required to first approach the Grievance Complaints Cell of the concerned insurer

March 06, 2014 3:11 IST | India Infoline News Service
The Government has enacted the Right to Information Act, 2005. The RTI Act is meant to give to the citizens of India access to information under control of public authorities to promote transparency and accountability in these organisations.

The IRDA is a public authority as defined in the RTI Act. As such, the IRDA is obliged to provide information to members of public in accordance with the provisions of the said Act.

The right to information includes access to the information which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to inspect the work, document, records, taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents / records and certified samples of the materials and obtaining information which is also stored in electronic form.

The IRDA maintains a website which is updated regularly.

IRDA has provided for a separate channel for lodging complaints against deficiency of services rendered by Insurance Companies. If you have a complaint/grievance against an insurance company for poor quality of service rendered by any of its offices/branches, please approach the Nodal Officer of the Insurance Company concerned.

In case you are not satisfied with the Insurance Company’s response you may also file a complaint with the Insurance Ombudsman in your State. The Insurance Ombudsman is an independent office to provide speedy and cost effective resolution of grievances to the customers. For more details on Insurance Ombudsman Scheme and their contact numbers, please visit http://www.irdaindia.org/ins_ombusman.htm.

Complaints from Policyholders

Policyholders who have complaints against insurers are required to first approach the Grievance/Customer Complaints Cell of the concerned insurer. If they do not receive a response from insurer(s) within a reasonable period of time or are dissatisfied with the response of the company, they may approach the Grievance Cell of the IRDA. For details of contact, please visit IRDA website http://irdaho/irdaweb/grievancescell.htm

Making an Application under RTI Act

Citizens will have to make the request for information in writing, clearly specifying the information sought under the RTI Act, 2005. The application for request should give the contact details (postal address, telephone number, fax number, email address) so that the applicants can be contacted for clarifications or for further information. As per the Act, information can be furnished only to citizens of India but not to others.

How do I send my application?

As per the RTI (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, a request for obtaining information needs to be accompanied by an application fee of Rs.10 by way of cash against proper receipt or by DD or bankers’ cheque.

You could send your request by post accompanied by the application fee of Rs.10/- payable by demand draft or bankers’ cheque favouring IRDA. The fee can also be paid in cash along with the application. Applications can also be made over fax or email. IRDA will take up the application for consideration, as required under the Act, only after the application fee has been received.

How long will IRDA take to provide information?

IRDA will, within 30 days of receipt of the application for information along with the fee, communicate to the requestor whether it can or cannot provide the information.

Will I have to pay to get the information?

The public authority shall charge:
- Rs.2/- for each page (in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied;
- actual charge or cost price of a copy in larger size paper;
- actual cost or price for samples or models; and
- for inspection of records, no fee for the first hour; and a fee of Rs.5/- for each 15 minutes (or fraction thereof thereafter)

To provide information further, the public authority shall charge:

- Rs. 50/- per diskette or floppy; and
- for information provided in printed form at the price fixed for such publication or Rs. 2/- per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.

At what stage will I have to pay this cost?

If IRDA has the information and can provide it to you it will, within 30 days of its receiving the application along with appropriate fees, communicate to you the cost of providing the information.

When will I get the information?

You will get the information, once IRDA receives the payment towards providing the information.

Can IRDA refuse to give me information?

The RTI Act exempts certain categories of information from disclosures. These include:

• Information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.

• Information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court;

• Information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;

• Information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;

• Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;

• Information received in confidence from foreign Government; information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes;

• Information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;

• Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers;

• Information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual.

Do I have a right to appeal?
Under the RTI Act, you have the right to appeal if you are not satisfied with the information provided by IRDA or its decision not to provide the information requested.

What if I am not satisfied even with the decision of the appellate authority?

Under the Act, if you are not satisfied with the decision of the appellate authority within IRDA, you can appeal to the Central Information Commissioner appointed in terms of Chapter 3 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

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