IRDAI asks motor insurers stop advertisements in respect of services not related to insurance claims

The regulator -- Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked motor insurance providers to discontinue advertisements showing services, like free pick-up and drop of vehicle, which are not part of the insurance cover. General insurance companies enter into service agreements with motor workshops/garages for the purpose of providing motor insurance claim services for repair of accident vehicles.

IRDAI said it is noticed that the service agreements in addition to claim services, extend certain assistance services not related to insurance claims such as free pick up and drop of vehicle, body wash, interior cleaning, inspection of vehicle etc. It said ‘While the bundling of (such) facilities with insurance is left to the motor service providers, the general insurers issuing advertisements on the said services, projecting them as benefits provided within the insurance cover is unacceptable’.

It highlighted that the main objective of service agreements with motor garages/ workshops shall only be providing insurance services for claims of accident vehicles and it cannot arbitrarily expand to include scope of services which are not relevant for insurance claims. The regulator has asked the insurers ‘to discontinue the advertisements in respect of the services not related to insurance claims as may be provided by motor garages/workshops’. They have also been asked to stop displaying discounts with reference or comparison to rates of erstwhile tariff.

IRDAI noted a perusal of advertisements issued by a few general insurers showing discounts up to certain percent, saving in the premium, and the illustrations provided therein, reveals that the features or benefits are applicable under extreme or exceptional scenarios. It said the discounts in certain advertisements are not shown objectively on filed rates but expressed in comparison to rates of erstwhile tariff, and added this is not to be done.