The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has tightened rules for Web sites and portals vending insurance products. These new Guidelines shall apply with effect from 1st February, 2012.
At present, there are no standards or rules for these sites (also known as Web aggregators).
Web aggregators are dedicated sites or portals that offer information on insurance products, including premiums and key features across companies and enable comparison.
Eligibility criteria for approval of the Web Aggregator:
1– The applicant shall have a net worth not less than rupees ten lakh as on the date of application.
2– The applicant shall not be licensed / registered as an insurance agent, corporate agent, microinsurance agent, TPA, surveyor, loss assessor or an Insurance Broker under the relevant Regulations framed by the Authority.
Display of product comparisons on the web site:
1– Web aggregators shall not display ratings, rankings, endorsements or bestsellers of insurance products on their website. The content of the websites of the web aggregators shall be unbiased and factual in nature; they shall desist from commenting on insurers or their products in their editorials or at any other location in their websites.
2– Web aggregators shall disclose prominently on the home page that the client/visitor’s particulars could be shared with insurers/insurance brokers.
3– Web aggregators shall not carry any advertisements or sponsored content on their websites.
4– Product comparisons that are displayed shall be upto date and reflect a true picture of the products.
5– Web aggregators shall display product information purely on the basis of the information furnished to them by insurers.
6– IRDA has said that the insurance companies can pay these Web portals only Rs 10 for a lead.
They will get remunerations only if leads provided by them result in sale and that too is capped at 25 per cent of the total commission payable on the first-year premium. The regulator has said that if a client evinces interest in buying insurance but does not prefer any insurer, companies should not transmit the lead to more than three insurance companies or one insurance broker.