Customer complaints rise against insurers by over 10%

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 1 2013, 20:28pm hrs
IComplaints against insurance companies have increased by 10% (FE)
Customer complaints against life insurance companies rose by nearly 10 per cent to over 3.41 lakh in the last fiscal, with state-run LIC and private players like Birla Sunlife and Bajaj Allianz accounting for a large portion of grievances.

According to data available with the insurance regulator IRDA's centralised customer complaint redressal system, the Integrated Grievance Management System, the total number of complaints against life insurers stood at about 3.1 lakh in 2011-12 and it rose by over 31,000 during 2012-13.

Complaints included those related to unfair business practices. Grievances related to alleged mis-selling by insurance companies are placed under the category of 'unfair business practices at the point of sale.

This central system of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) creates a central repository of complaints of policy holders against all insurance firms.

The companies that witnessed significant increase in the number of complaints during 2012-13 included LIC (over 20,000) and Birla Sunlife (about 18,000), while Bajaj Allianz and HDFC Standard Life also saw the number of complaints against them rising by about 14,000 each.

Besides, complaints against Aegon Religare rose by about 4,000, while those against Max Life increased by nearly 5,000.

At the same time, companies like Aviva, ICICI Prudential, ING life, Tata AIA recorded lower number of complaints during the last fiscal, while Reliance Life witnessed the largest decline of about 30,000 in the number of complaints against it.

On a positive note, most of the companies managed to resolve a large number of complaints filed against them during the year and the number of pending complaints across all insurers stood at just about 1,200 at the end of last fiscal.

In terms of number of resolved complaints during 2012-13, LIC was on the top (over 72,000), followed by HDFC Standard Life (over 50,000), Bajaj Allianz (over 37,000), Birla Sunlife (over 30,000) and Reliance Life (over 21,000).

LIC also topped the list for total number of complaints reported during 2012-13 (over 73,000), followed by HDFC Life (nearly 51,000), Bajaj Allianz (over 37,000), Birla Sun Life (over 30,000) and Reliance Life (over 21,000).

The grievance management data shows that the unfair business practice complaints accounted for over 30 per cent of the total complaints filed against life insurers in 2012-13.

The data indicates that out of the total 3,41,012 complaints filed against 24 life insurers, including LIC, in 2012-13, as many as 1,68,482 complaints were for unfair business practices.

The number of such complaints in the previous fiscal 2011-12 stood at little over one lakh.

Other life insurers against whom a large number of complaints were reported include ICICI Pru (19,759), SBI Life (18,681) and Tata AIA (11,672) in the last fiscal.