Shri Debasish Panda
Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDAI)
Dear Shri Panda,
I have come across a news report today (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/insure/health-insurance/latest-general-and-health-insurance-claim-settlement-ratio-of-insurance-companies-in-india/printarticle/97081682.cms) that refers to information released by IRDAI on claim settlement ratios for life and general insurance claims in the case of private and public sector insurerers. According to that information, the claim settlement ratios for general insurance by private insurers ranges between 85.23% to 99.99%. These are high ratios.
Meanwhile, in the case of one particular government-sponsored flagship farmers’ insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), there have been widespread complaints about private insurers collecting premia amounts from the farmers, the States and the Centre but not settling their claims for long periods.
In this connection, I invite your attention to my letter dated 7-10-2022 addressed to the C&AG (https://countercurrents.org/2022/10/centrally-sponsored-schemes-violate-the-spirit-of-federalism-also-wastes-public-resources/?swcfpc=1) and my letter dated 19-11-2022 addressed to the Finance Minister (https://countercurrents.org/2022/11/pradhan-mantri-fasal-bhima-yojana-pmfby-allows-big-businesses-to-profiteer-at-the-cost-of-the-farmers/?swcfpc=1), which refer to several reports about non-settlement of claims by some private insurers.
In particular, a Union Minister had brought this matter, with particular reference to Odisha, to the attention of the government as reported (https://www.businessworld.in/article/Union-Min-Pradhan-Seeks-Probe–Farmers-Insurance-Scheme-In-Odisha-/17-11-2022-454459/)
There have been numerous complaints about PMFBY benefitting private insurers at the cost of the farmers, as evident from the following reports.
In the specific case of Maharashtra, the State Agriculture Department had brought several instances of non-settlement of claims by private insurers under the PMFBY.
I am not sure whether the information disclosed at IRDAI website reflects this position. IRDAI may have to add an appropriate caveat to any such information that appears at its website.
Under the IRDA Act, IRDAI’s primary responsibility is to safeguard the interests of the policy holders. It is therefore all the more desirable that IRDAI not only places only authenticated information at its website but also causes a verification in respect of complaints made by responsible individuals and the States in order to ensure that private insurers may not profiteer at the cost of the policy holders.
E A S Sarma
Former Secretary to Government of India