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    May 21, 2016

    New norms for appointment of Insurance Agents and Forms

    F. No. IRDAI/Reg/11/123/2016 - In exercise of the powers conferred by section 114A of the
    Insurance Act, 1938 (4 of 1938), as amended from time to time, read with sections 14 and 26 of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (41 of 1999) and sections 42 of Insurance Act, 1938, as amended from time to time, the Authority in consultation with the Insurance Advisory Committee, hereby makes the following regulations, namely:-


    1. Short title and commencement.
    1) These Regulations shall be called Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India
    (Appointment of Insurance Agents) Regulations, 2016.

    2) These Regulations shall come into force with effect from 1st April, 2016.

    2. Definitions: In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires:-

    1) “Act” means the Insurance Act, 1938 (4 of 1938) as amended from time to time.

    2) “Appointment Letter” means a letter of appointment issued by an insurer to any person to act as
    an insurance agent.

    3) “Appellate Officer” means an officer authorised by the Insurer to consider and dispose
    representations and appeals received from an Insurance Agent.

    4) "Insurance Agent" means an individual appointed by an insurer for the purpose of soliciting or
    procuring insurance business including business relating to the continuance, renewal or revival of
    policies of insurance.

    5) “Authority” means the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India established under the provisions of Section 3 of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (41 of 1999).

    6) “Composite Insurance Agent” means an individual who is appointed as an insurance agent by
    two or more insurers subject to the condition that he/she shall not act as insurance agent for more
    than one life insurer, one general insurer, one health insurer and one each of the mono-line
    insurers.

    7) “Centralised list of Agents” means a list of agents maintained by the Authority, which contains all
    details of agents appointed by all insurers. 

    8) “Centralised list of black listed agents” means list of agents maintained by the Authority whose
    appointment is cancelled/suspended by a designated official of insurer on grounds of violation of
    code of conduct and / or fraud.

    9) “Designated Official” means an officer authorised by the Insurer to make Appointment of an
    individual as an Insurance Agent.

    10) “Examination Body” means an Institution, which conducts pre-recruitment tests for insurance
    agents and which is duly recognised by the Authority.

    11) “Mono-Line Insurer” for the purpose of these Regulations means insurer as defined under section
    2(9) of Insurance Act, 1938 and carrying on one particular specialized line of business such as
    agriculture insurance, export credit guarantee business.

    12) “Multilevel Marketing Scheme” means any scheme as defined in explanation to Section 42A of the Act.

    3. All words and expressions used herein and not defined but defined in the Insurance Act 1938, or in the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (41 of 1999), or any other rules and regulations made there under shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in those Acts, Rules and Regulations.

    4. Appointment of Insurance Agent by the Insurer:
    1) An applicant seeking appointment as an insurance agent of an Insurer shall submit an application
    in Form I-A to the Designated Official of the Insurer.
    2) The Designated Official of the insurer, on receipt of the application, shall satisfy himself that the
    applicant:-

    a) has furnished the Agency Application in Form I-A complete in all respects;

    b) has submitted the PAN details along with the Agency Application Form;
    c) has passed the insurance examination as specified under Regulations 6;

    d) does not suffer from any of the disqualifications mentioned in Regulation 7;

    e) has the requisite knowledge to solicit and procure insurance business; and capable of providing the necessary service to the policy holders;

    “Provided that the Authority may exempt one or more of the above conditions for such applicants who are to be appointed to distribute only particular type insurance product (s) having fixed premium and/or benefits such as Motor Third Party Insurance.

     Provided further that while making such exemptions, the other conditions to be fulfilled, if any, may
    also be specified by the Authority”

    3) The Designated Official shall exercise due diligence in verifying the agency application and
    ascertaining that the applicant does not hold agency appointment for more than one life insurer,
    one general insurer, one health insurer and one each of the mono-line insurers and is not in the
    centralised list of blacklisted agents.

    4) The Designated Official shall also verify
    a) The centralised list of agents maintained by the Authority with the PAN Number of the
    applicant to ascertain the information as in sub Regulation (3) above.

    b) The centralised list of black listed agents maintained by the Authority to ascertain that the

    applicant is not black listed.


    5) The Designated Official on satisfying himself that the applicant has complied with all the
    conditions mentioned in Regulation 4(2) to 4(4) above, and also does not suffer from any of the
    disqualifications mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 42 of the Act, may process the agency
    application and grant appointment to the applicant as an insurance agent by issuing an
    appointment letter within 15 days of receipt of all documents from the applicant. The Designated
    Official shall allot an agency code number to the appointed agent and the agency code number
    shall be prefixed by the abbreviation of the insurer’s name.

    Notwithstanding anything contained above, the Designated Official may refuse or reject, for
    reasons being recorded, an application if he/she feels that the grant of appointment may be
    against public interest. 


    6) The agency appointment letter issued as mentioned in sub-Regulation(5) above shall lay down
    the terms of appointment covering all conditions governing appointment and functioning of the
    applicant as insurance agent and the code of conduct as outlined in Regulation 8. The letter of
    appointment shall be dispatched not later than 7 days after the appointment of the agent as
    mentioned in sub-Regulation (5) above.

    7) The applicant so appointed as an insurance agent shall be provided an identity card, by the
    insurer which shall identify the agent with the insurer whom he/she is representing as an agent.

    8) The Designated Official shall enter and update the Agency Data of the applicant appointed as an
    Insurance agent in the Agency Portal maintained by the Authority through online mode
    immediately after the appointment of the agent. The online updation of Agency database records
    by the insurer is to maintain the updated centralised list of agents maintained by the Authority.The
    Designated Official shall be responsible to ensure that the centralized list of agents is up to date
    and accurate.

    9) The Designated Official may refuse to grant Agency Appointment to any applicant if the applicant
    does not fulfil any of the conditions mentioned in these Regulations. The Designated Official shall
    communicate the reasons for refusal for appointment as agent to the applicant in writing, within 21
    days of receipt of the application.

    10) An applicant who is aggrieved by the decision of the Designated Official refusing to grant the
    agency appointment may submit a review application to the appellate officer designated by the
    insurer for review of the decision. The insurer shall designate an Appellate Officer to consider the
    review application of the applicant. The Appellate Officer shall consider the application and
    communicate the final decision in writing within 15 days of receipt of the review application.

    5. Appointment of Composite Insurance Agent by the insurer:
    1) An applicant seeking appointment as a ‘Composite Insurance Agent’ shall make an application to
    the Designated Official of respective life, general, health insurer or mono-line insurer as the case
    may be, in the ‘Composite Agency Application Form I-B. The Designated Official of the
    respective insurers shall deal with the application in the manner and procedure outlined in
    Regulation 4.

    6. Insurance Agency Examination:—
    1) An applicant shall pass in the Insurance Agency Examination conducted by the Examination Body
    in the subjects of Life, General, or Health Insurance as the case may be, as per the syllabus
    prescribed by the Authority to be eligible for appointment as an insurance agent. The insurer shall
    provide the necessary assistance and guidance to the candidates to equip them with adequate
    insurance knowledge required to qualify in the agency examination.

    2) The applicant who has successfully passed the Insurance Agency Examination as mentioned in
    (1) above shall be issued a pass certificate by the Examination Body. The pass certificate issued
    by the Examining Body shall be in force for a period of twelve months, for the purpose of seeking
    appointment as an agent with any insurer for the first time.

    3) Only candidates who have qualified in the Insurance Agency Examination as mentioned above
    and who hold a valid pass certificate issued by the Examination Body shall be eligible to be
    considered for appointment as agents.

    7. Disqualification to act as an Insurance Agent: The conditions for disqualification shall be as
    stipulated under Section 42 (3) of the Act.

    8. Code of Conduct.
     1) Every agent shall adhere to the code of conduct specified below:-
    a) Every insurance agent shall, ---

    i) identify himself and the insurer of whom he is an insurance agent;

    ii) show the agency identity card to the prospect, and also disclose the agency appointment
    letter to the prospect on demand;

    iii) disseminate the requisite information in respect of insurance products offered for sale by his
    insurer and take into account the needs of the prospect while recommending a specific
    insurance plan; 

    iv) where the Insurance agent represents more than one insurer offering same line of products,
    he should dispassionately advice the policyholder on the products of all Insurers whom he
    is representing and the product best suited to the specific needs of the prospect;

    v) disclose the scales of commission in respect of the insurance product offered for sale, if
    asked by the prospect;

    vi) indicate the premium to be charged by the insurer for the insurance product offered for sale;

    vii) explain to the prospect the nature of information required in the proposal form by the
    insurer, and also the importance of disclosure of material information in the purchase of an
    insurance contract;

    viii) bring to the notice of the insurer every fact about the prospect relevant to insurance
    underwriting, including any adverse habits or income inconsistency of the prospect, within
    the knowledge of the agent, in the form of a report called “Insurance Agent’s Confidential
    Report” along with every proposal submitted to the insurer wherever applicable, and any
    material fact that may adversely affect the underwriting decision of the insurer as regards
    acceptance of the proposal, by making all reasonable enquiries about the prospect;

    ix) obtain the requisite documents at the time of filing the proposal form with the insurer; and
    other documents subsequently asked for by the insurer for completion of the proposal;

    x) advise every prospect to effect nomination under the policy

    xi) inform promptly the prospect about the acceptance or rejection of the proposal by the
    insurer;

    xii) render necessary assistance and advice to every policyholder introduced through him/her
    on all policy servicing matters including assignment of policy, change of address or
    exercise of options under the policy or any other policy service, wherever necessary;

    xiii) render necessary assistance to the policyholders or claimants or beneficiaries in complying
    with the requirements for settlement of claims by the insurer;

    2) No insurance agent shall,----
    a) solicit or procure insurance business without being appointed to act as such by the
    insurer

    b) induce the prospect to omit any material information in the proposal form;

    c) induce the prospect to submit wrong information in the proposal form or documents submitted to the insurer for acceptance of the proposal;

    d) resort to multilevel marketing for soliciting and procuring insurance policies and/or induct
    any prospect/policyholder into a multilevel level marketing scheme.

    e) behave in a discourteous manner with the prospect;

    f) interfere with any proposal introduced by any other insurance agent;

    g) offer different rates, advantages, terms and conditions other than those offered by his insurer;

    h) demand or receive a share of proceeds from the beneficiary under an insurance contract;

    i) force a policyholder to terminate the existing policy and to effect a new policy from him
    within three years from the date of such termination of the earlier policy;

    j) apply for fresh agency appointment to act as an insurance agent, if his agency appointment was earlier cancelled by the designated official, and a period of five years has not elapsed from the date of such cancellation;

    k) become or remain a director of any insurer;

    3) Every insurance agent shall, with a view to conserve the insurance business already procured
    through him, make every attempt to ensure remittance of the premiums by the policyholders
    within the stipulated time, by giving notice to the policyholder orally and in writing;

    4) Any person who acts as an insurance agent in contravention of the provisions of the Insurance
    Act,1938 and Regulations made there under shall be liable to a penalty which may extend to ten
    thousand rupees and any insurer or any person acting on behalf of an insurer, who appoints any 
     person as an insurance agent not permitted to act as such or transact any insurance business in
    India through any such person shall be liable to penalty which may extend to one crore rupees.

    5) The insurer shall be responsible for all acts and omissions of its agents including violation of code
    of conduct specified under these Regulations, and shall be liable to a penalty which may extend
    to one crore rupees.

    9. Authority’s right to inspect:
    1) The Authority may appoint one or more of its officers as an “Investigating Officer” to undertake
    inspection of affairs of an insurance Agent, to ascertain and see whether the business is carried on
    by him/her as per the Act, Regulations and the instructions issued by the Authority from time to time,
    and also to inspect the books of accounts, records and documents of the Agent.
     Provided such inspection will be limited to the matters pertaining to insurance business undertaken
    by the Insurance Agent.

    2) The Investigating Officer may, during the course of the inspection, examine on oath the insurance
    agent or any person who is found to be in possession or control of any books, accounts or other
    documents, and any statement made by the insurance agent or such person during such
    examination may thereafter be used as evidence in any proceedings under these Regulations.

    3) The Authority may also call for any information from the insurance agent and he shall submit the
    same within the time lines referred therein by the Authority.

    4) The purposes of inspection under this Regulation may include but are not limited to ;-
    a) Monitoring compliance with the provisions of the Act, rules, regulations etc.;

    b) Investigation of the complaints of serious nature received from any insured, any insurers,
    other stakeholders or any other individual on any matter having a bearing on the insurance
    related activities of the insurance agent; and

    c) Investigating into the affairs of the insurance agent in the interest of orderly development of
    insurance business or in protection of policyholder’s interest.

    10. Suspension of Appointment of an Agent:
     1) The appointment of an agent may be cancelled or suspended after due notice and after giving
    him/her a reasonable opportunity of being heard if he/she:-

    a) violates the provisions of the Insurance Act,1938 (4 of 1938), Insurance Regulatory and
    Development Authority Act, 1999 (41 of 1999) or rules or regulations, made there under
    as amended from time to time;

    b) attracts any of the disqualifications mentioned in Regulation7.

    c) fails to comply with the code of conduct stipulated in Regulation 8 and directions issued
    by the Authority from time to time.

    d) violates terms of appointment.

    e) fails to furnish any information relating to his/her activities as an agent as required by the
    Insurer or the Authority;

    f) fails to comply with the directions issued by the Authority;

    g) furnishes wrong or false information; or conceals or fails to disclose material facts in the
    application submitted for appointment of Insurance Agent or during the period of its validity.

    h) does not submit periodical returns as required by the Insurer/Authority;

    i) does not co-operate with any inspection or enquiry conducted by the Authority;

    j) fails to resolve the complaints of the policyholders or fails to give a satisfactory reply to the
    Authority in this behalf;

    k) either directly or indirectly involves in embezzlement of premiums / cash collected from
    policyholders/prospects on behalf of insurer. However this proviso does not permit an agent
    to collect cash/premium without specific authorisation by the insurer. 

    11. Manner of holding enquiry before/after suspension of appointment of the Insurance Agent:
    1. The appointment of an insurance agent shall not be cancelled unless an enquiry has been
    conducted in accordance with the procedure specified in this Regulation;

    2. For the purpose of holding an enquiry under this Regulation, the insurer shall appoint an Officer
    as an Enquiry Officer within 15 days of the issue of the suspension order;

    3. The Enquiry Officer shall issue a show cause notice to the insurance agent at the registered
    address of the insurance agent calling for all information / data as deemed necessary to conduct
    the enquiry and grant the insurance agent a time of 21 days from date of receipt of the show
    cause notice, for submission of his/her reply and such information / data called for;

    4. The Insurance Agent may, within 21 days from the date of receipt of such notice, furnish to the
    enquiry officer a reply to the Show cause notice together with copies of documentary or other
    evidence relied on by him or sought by the Enquiry Officer;

    5. The Enquiry Officer shall give a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the insurance agent to
    enable him to make submissions in support of his/her reply;

    6. The insurance agent may either appear in person or through any person duly authorised by him to
    present his case, provided however that the prior approval of the Insurer is obtained for the
    appearance of the ‘Authorised Person’;

    7. If it is considered necessary, the Enquiry Officer may require the Insurer to present its case
    through one of its officers;

    8. If it is considered necessary, the Enquiry Officer may call for feedback/information from any other
    related entity during the course of enquiry;

    9. If it is considered necessary, the Enquiry Officer may call for additional papers from the insurance
    agent;

    10. The Enquiry Officer shall make all necessary efforts to complete the proceeding at the earliest but
    in no case beyond 45 days of the commencement of the enquiry;
     Provided that in case the enquiry cannot be completed within the prescribed time limit of 45 days
    as mentioned in (10) above; the enquiry officer may seek additional time from the Insurer stating
    the reason thereof;

    11) The Enquiry Officer shall, after taking into account all relevant facts and submissions made by the insurance agent, shall furnish a report making his/her recommendations to the Designated
    Official. The Designated Official shall pass a final order in writing with reasons. The order of
    designated official shall be signed and dated and communicated to the agent.

    12. Procedure for Cancellation of Agency:
    On the issue of the final order for cancellation of agency of the insurance agent, he/she shall cease to
    act as an insurance agent from the date of the final order.

    13. Publication of order of suspension/ Cancellation.—
    The order of suspension/cancellation of appointment of the Insurance Agent made under Regulation
    11 and 12 shall be displayed on website of the Insurer and updated in centralised list of agents
    maintained by the Authority, so that registration of new business by the suspended/Cancelled agent is
    stopped forthwith by the insurers.

    14. Effect of suspension/cancellation of Agency appointment.—
    1) On and from the date of suspension or cancellation of the agency, the insurance Agent, shall cease
    to act as an insurance agent.
    a) The insurer shall recover the appointment letter and Identity card from the agent whose
    appointment has been cancelled under these Regulations within 7 days of issuance of final
    order effecting cancellation of appointment.

    b) The insurer shall black list the agent and enter the details of the agent whose appointment is
    suspended/cancelled into the black listed agents' database maintained by the Authority and
    the centralised list of agents database maintained by the Authority, in online mode,
    immediately after issuance of the order effecting suspension/ cancellation.

    c) In case a suspension is revoked in respect of any agent on conclusion of disciplinary action
    by way of issuance of a speaking order by Designated Official, the details of such agent shall
    be removed from list of black listed Agents as soon as the Speaking Order revoking his/her
    suspension is issued.

    d) The insurer shall also inform other insurers, Life or General or Health Insurer or mono-line
    insurer with whom he/she is acting as an agent, of the action taken against the Insurance
    Agent for their records and necessary action.

    2. Nothing contained in the above regulation shall prevent the Authority to initiate penal action

    keeping in mind the extent of violation and level of violation as per the provisions of the Insurance Act, 1938, regulations and rules there under.


    15. Appeal Provision: An agent who is aggrieved by the order of cancellation can appeal to the insurer within 3 months from the date of receipt of the order. The insurer shall appoint an Appellate Officer who shall examine the appeal and give his decision in the matter in writing within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal.

    16. Procedure to be followed in respect of resignation/surrender of appointment by an insurance
    agent:

    1) In case an insurance agent appointed by an insurer wishes to surrender his agency with his/her
    insurer, he/she shall surrender his appointment letter and identity card to the designated official of the
    insurer with whom he/she is currently holding agency.

    2) The Insurer shall issue the cessation certificate as detailed in Form I-C within a period of 15 days from the date of resignation or surrender of appointment.

    3) An Insurance Agent who has surrendered his appointment may seek fresh appointment with other
    insurer. In such a case, the agent has to furnish to the new insurer all the details of his/her previous
    agency and produce Cessation Certificate issued by the previous insurer issued in Form I-C, along
    with his agency application form.

    4) The insurer will consider the agency application as outlined in Regulation 4 after a period of NINETY DAYS from the date of the issue of the cessation certificate by the previous insurer.

    17. General conditions for appointment of Agents by the insurer:
    1) The Insurer shall frame a ‘Board Approved Policy’ covering Agency Matters as listed in Annexure I and file the same with the Authority before 31st March every year. The guidelines for the ‘Board
    Approved Policy’ to be framed by the Insurer are mentioned in detail in Annexure – I

    2) No individual shall act as an insurance agent for more than one life insurer, one general insurer, one health insurer and one each of mono-line insurers

    3) Any individual, who acts as an insurance agent in contravention of the provisions of this Act, shall be liable to a penalty which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

    4) Any insurer or any representative of the insurer acting on behalf of the insurer, who appoints an
    individual as an insurance agent not permitted to act as such or transact any insurance business in
    India shall be liable to penalty which may extend to one crore rupees.

    5) No insurer shall, on or after the commencement of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015
    appoint any Principal Agent, Chief Agent, and Special Agent and transact any insurance business in
    India through them.

    6) No person shall allow or offer to allow, either directly or indirectly or as an inducement, to any person to take out or renew or continue an insurance policy through multilevel marketing scheme.

    7) The Authority may through an officer authorized in this behalf, make a complaint to the appropriate police authorities relating to the entity or persons involved in the Multi-Level Marketing schemes.

    8) Every insurer and every Designated Official who is acting on behalf of an insurer in appointing
    insurance agents shall maintain a register showing the name and address of every insurance agent
    appointed by him and the date on which his appointment began and the date, if any, on which his
    appointment ceased.

    9) The records as mentioned in (8) above shall be maintained by the insurer as long as the insurance
    agent is in service and for a period of five years from the cessation of the appointment. 

    18. Existing Agents licensed by Authority---
    1. Insurance agents holding a valid license issued in terms of IRDA (Licensing of Insurance Agents)
    Regulations, 2000, by the Authority to act as insurance agents of different insurers and agents
    whose licenses are tagged to standalone health insurer / Agriculture Insurance Company of India
    Ltd. under special permission granted by the Authority to Standalone Health Insurer Agriculture
    Insurance Company of India Ltd. shall be deemed to have been appointed by the respective
    insurers, and shall continue to operate as insurance agents of the respective Standalone Health
    insurer / Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd.

    2. The agency license and identity card issued on behalf of the authority and recovered by the
    insurer in accordance with provisions of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India
    (Appointment of Insurance Agents) Guidelines, 2015 should be carefully preserved by the insurer
    for submission to the Authority as and when called for.

    19. Power to remove difficulties:
    In order to remove any difficulties in respect of the application or interpretation of any of the provisions of these Regulations, the Chairperson of the Authority may issue appropriate clarifications or guidelines, as and when required.
    Download form 1A, IB and IC

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