The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has guided the insurance policyholders across Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) to file their complaints or grievances against the insurance company, agent, or bank representative regarding insurance policy directly with the relevant insurance company.
This has been highlighted by the SECP through Circular no 27 of 2020 (Awareness among policyholders about the availability of forums for resolution of their grievances) issued by the SECP on Tuesday.
The SECP has guided the policyholders on Tuesday that the complaints against the insurance companies should not be filed with the SECP at the first stage.
In the first phase, the complaints should be filed with the relevant insurance company. In case if the insurance company fails to address policy holders’ grievance, the complaints may be filed with other external independent forums, which are:
- Federal Insurance Ombudsman; or respective Official Coordinator, Small Disputes Resolution Committee -Karachi
- Specialized Companies Division;
- Official Coordinator, Small Disputes Resolution Committee -Lahore
- Company Registration Office – Lahore and Official Coordinator, Small Disputes Resolution Committee-Islamabad Insurance Division, Blue Area, Islamabad.
In the second phase, the complaint against an insurance company may also be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (insurance regulator in Pakistan) at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) NIC Building, 63-Jinnah Avenue, Blue Area, Islamabad.
In order to communicate and create awareness among policyholders about the availability of complaint resolution forums, the SECP had issued Circular No. 5/2016 dated January 26, 2016, Circular No. 36/2017 dated December 12,2017 and Directive vide S.R.O. 1405(1)/2018 dated November 16, 2018, SECP said.
In this context, it has been observed that without first approaching the respective insurer, the complainants/policyholders are directly filing their complaints with the Commission (SECP).
Keeping in view of this fact, amendments In the annexure to the Circular No. 5/2016 have been made to ensure that complainants/policyholders as a first step, approach the respective Insurer and in case their grievances are not resolved, they may file their complaints to other grievance handling forums.
Accordingly, the amended annexures both in Urdu and English are attached herewith for your future compliance. it is pertinent to mention that the circular No.5 of 2016 requires the following from insurers:
- Fix the notice board(s) containing the attached ‘awareness message’ in both Urdu as well as English languages at prominent places at head office and branch offices where general public or the policyholders pay frequent visits including bank branches authorized to offer bank assurance products to the general public.
- Upload the attached ‘awareness message’ on their (insurance companies) respective websites under the heading of “Complaints Resolution Forums” (in red font) in both Urdu as well as English languages.
- Print the attached ‘awareness messages on all the forms i.e. policy illustrations, proposal forms, policy documents and claim forms on conspicuous position (in red font) in both Urdu as well as English languages.
The insurance companies shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the changes are reflected in the policy documents, notice board(s) and website with effect from October 1, 2020, SECP concluded.