Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005
Obligation of IRDA under RTI Act
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) is a public authority as defined in the Right to Information Act, 2005. As such, IRDA is obliged to disclose information to Indian nationals in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
The right to information includes access to data or information under the control of any public authority. As a result, the public have been granted privileges and rights incorporating the right to inspect any document, record, work, making notes, collecting extracts, notes or certified copies of documents/records, certified samples of substances or materials and/or obtaining data or information which is also stored in electronic format.
The IRDA maintains an active website (URL: http://www.irdaindia.org). The website is updated regularly. All the information released by IRDA is simultaneously made available on the website. The information published in public domain incorporates the following features:
2. Information pertaining to Insurers/Reinsurers, Appointed Actuaries and Agents Training Institutes
3. Information related to Insurance Brokers, Corporate Agents, Surveyors and Third Party Adminstrators (TPA)
4. Information relating to Insurance Councils and Insurance Ombudsman
5. Annual Reports & IRDA Journals
6. Press Releases
Complaints against Insurance Companies or Third Party Administrators (TPA)
Under the provisions of this Act, IRDA has provided an exclusive channel for lodging complaints against any deficiency in products or services rendered by Insurance Companies or the Third Party Administrators (TPA). On account of poor quality, deficiency or shortfall in services being rendered by an Insurance Company or TPA including its offices or branches and incase of persistent requests made by the concerned policyholder to address his/her complaints/grievances remains unresolved, such individuals have the liberty to approach the Nodal Officer of the concerned Insurance Company or TPA. If the individual remains dissatisfiedwith the response of the concerned Insurance Company or TPA, the individual can file a complaint by approaching the Insurance Ombudsman. Under IRDA Act, the Insurance Ombudsman is an independent office that provides speedy and cost-effective resolution pertaining to grievances of the policyholder. For more details on Insurance Ombudsman Scheme and their respective contact details, the policyholder is requested to visit http://www.irdaindia.org/ins_ombusman.htm.
Complaints from Policyholders
Policyholders who have complaints against their insurers or TPAs are required to first approach the Grievance/Customer Complaints Cell of the concerned Insurance Company. If they do not receive a response from their insurer/TPA within a reasonable time-frame or are dissatisfied with the response of the company or are dissatisfied with the quality of services being offered, such policyholders may approach the Grievance Cell of the IRDA for resolving their grievances. Such details are available on IRDA website http://irdaho/irdaweb/grievancescell.htm
Making an Application under the Right to Information Act, 2005
Indian citizens can make the request pertaining to disclosure of data or information in writing, clearly specifying the information being sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 and the purpose of seeking it. The application for request should contain the contact details (name, postal address, telephone number, fax number, email id) of the concerned applicants so that they can be contacted for clarifications or for further information, incase, if such need arises. As per the provisions of RTI Act, such information can be furnished only to citizens of India but cannot be disclosed to others. If such data or information is leaked to individuals who are not Indian citizens, then it results in breach of violation followed with suitable legal action.
Sending an application
As per the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005 prescribed by the Government of India, a request for obtaining information under Section 6(1) of RIA needs to be accompanied by an application fee of Rs.10/- by way of cash against proper receipt or by DD or bankers’ cheque.
It is possible to dispatch an individual’s request by post accompanied by the application fee of Rs.10/- payable by demand draft or bankers’ cheque drawn in favour of IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority). Another alternative is that the fee can be paid in cash along with the application by the concerned individual. Applications can also be made via fax or email. IRDA takes up the processing the application of an individual for consideration, only after the application fee has been received, under the provisions of the Act.
All such requests can be addressed to any of the concerned Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs).
Duration taken by IRDA take to provide information under RTI Act
Within 30 days of receiving the receipt of the application requesting for information along with the prescribed fees, IRDA will communicate to the requestor (or the concerned individual) whether it can or cannot provide the information.
Guidelines to be followed for deriving the information under RTI Act
As per the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005, the public authority shall charge as follows:
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 being sought
For inspection of records, no fees for the first hour and thereafter a fee of Rs.5/- for each 15 minutes (or fraction thereof).
Under Section 7(5) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, for dissemination or providing relevant data or information the concerned public authority shall charge as follows:
Rs. 50/- per diskette or floppy
For information provided in printed form based on the price fixed for such publication or Rs. 2/- per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication.
If IRDA has the desired data or information and is in a position to provide it to an individual it will, within 30 days of receiving the application pertaining to the request along with appropriate fees. Under Section 7(1) of Right to Information (RTI) Act, it will communicate to the concerned individual the cost of providing the data or information as prescribed. Incase, if the data is confidential, secretive or sensitive in nature, IRDA has the right to withhold such information under the provisions of RTI Act.
Refusal of Disclosure of Information by IRDA
Under Sections 8 and 9 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, certain categories of data or information are totally prohibited or exempted from disclosures to the public. Such data or information includes:
a) Disclosure of Data or Information that would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relations with foreign countries or lead to incitement of an offence.
b) Data or information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of such information that may constitute contempt of court.
c) The disclosure of information that would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature.
d) Information that includes commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of such data or information that would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless and until the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.
d) 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.
e) Data or information received from foreign Governments that is confidential and its disclosure would endanger the life or physical safety of any individual or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes concerning India or its states or its subjects.
f) Information that would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of actual offenders.
g) Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other gazette officers.
h) Information that relates to personal information and the disclosure of such data bears no relationship of any public activity or interest, or disclosure of any such data or information that may result in unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual.
Right to Appeal
Under the provisions of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 an individual has been conferred the right to appeal incase if the concerned person remains disdissatisfiedwith the information provided by IRDA or the decision not to disclose or disseminate the data or information as requested. The appeal can be addressed to:
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)
3rd Floor, Parisrama Bhavan,
Hyderabad 500 04
Ph: (040) 66820965 (D) 6682 0964 / 66789768
Fax: (040) 6682 3334
Under the provisions of this Act, incase, if an individual is dissatisfied with the decision of the appellate authority within IRDA, he/she can appeal against this verdict to the Central Information Commissioner appointed in terms of Chapter III of the Right to Information Act, 2005.