Cleaning the web

Jul 30 2013, 14:57 IST
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SummaryThrough an exposure draft, Irda has sought to bring about standardisation and greater transparency in the working of web aggregators

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) has come out with a exposure draft for changes in the existing guidelines on web aggregators. Once these guidelines become final, aggregators will not be able to display ratings, ranking, endorsements or bestsellers on their websites and the content will have to be unbiased and factual in nature. Also, they will have to desist from commenting on insurers.

The exposure draft underlines that web aggregators should provide an option to select three insurers to whom the lead can be communicated. Also, they cannot transmit the data of a client to insurers other than the one preferred by him. The aggregators will have to disclose prominently that the visitors’ particulars could be shared with insurers.

The norms aim to bring in uniformity in display of prices and key features of the insurance products by the websites, to protect the interests of customers and also rationalise the approach adopted by insurers and brokers in dealing with various websites that offer price comparisons and display key features of products.

The first set of guidelines came into effect February 2012, but most of them were very restrictive. Yashish Dahiya, chief executive officer of Policybazaar.com, says the result was limited growth in the web aggregation channel. “Now, with a year passing since the licences were issued, it seemed to be a good time to review the scenario. The current draft is a clear indication that the Irda understands the value-addition of the segment and is taking relevant steps to revive it,” he says.

The new draft exposure says employees of web aggregator will have to complete 50 hours of theoretical and practical training on insurance from an institution recognised by Irda and clear an examination at the end of the training period.

All telecallers deployed by web aggregators will have to be on their rolls and should have undergone statutory training as prescribed by Irda.

Insurers will pay aggregators a flat fee of not more than R50,000 a year for each product displayed and the aggregators will have to display the names of insurers with whom it has an agreement to refer leads.

They will maintain an effective lead management system — a software used for recording, filtering, validating, etc — and ensure that they are recorded and monitored through the system. Aggregators will also have to put in place a system for recording and monitoring complaints and accept complaints

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