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Appointing a Principal Officer for Insurance Web Aggregator

  • April 29, 2022
  • Registrationwala
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How to appoint a Principal Officer for Insurance web Aggregator? IRDA License has one primary requirement, and it’s the principal officer. Know the answer to how to appoint or change them.

Starting an insurance web aggregating business involves adhering to many compliances, one of which is appointing an Insurance web aggregator. Without this aspect fulfilled, the company doesn’t have the eligibility to apply for the Insurance web aggregator license and can’t start an Insurance web aggregation portal. 

Thus, through this guide, we will answer the question of how to appoint a Principal Officer for an Insurance Web Aggregator. 

What is an insurance web aggregator?

If you go by the traditional definition, you’d think that a principal officer is someone who heads the insurance web aggregation company. Although you won’t be wrong in that assumption, the technical definition is more nuanced than this one. 

According to the Regulation 2(i) of the IRDAI regulations established in 2017, the definition of a principal officer for a company is:

  1. A director or the company partner has to bear the exclusive responsibility of the operation of insurance web aggregation. 
  2. A CEO or Chief Executing officer of the company is responsible for supervising all the tasks required by the insurance web aggregator business. 

In short, the principal officer is the driver of the insurance web aggregator business – ensuring that the business adheres to the clause of displaying insurance policies as products and providing insurance comparison modules to the users. 

How qualified is a Principal officer required to be?

As per the rules of the IRDAI, a Principal Officer has to have the following educational qualifications to lead the Insurance web aggregator company:

  1.  Must have either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in the fields of Arts, Science, Commerce, Engineering, Social Science, Law, management, or something equivalent to those fields from any university or institution. However, the university or institution has to be recognized by either the state or the central government, or 
  2. Must be a fellow or associate of the Insurance Institute of India, Mumbai, or
  3. Must have acquired the master’s qualification from the Institute of Insurance and Risk Management, Hyderabad or,
  4. Must be a member of the ICAI or Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, New Delhi, or
  5. Must be a part of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, Kolkata, or
  6. Must be a part of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), New Delhi, or 
  7. Must be a part of the Institute of Actuaries of India, or
  8. Must have acquired a Certified Associateship of the Indian Institute of Bankers (IIB), Mumbai, or
  9. Must have the required qualification provided by the IRDAI mentioned in the IWA regulations. 

In addition to the above qualifications, the principal officer must also have acquired training from an Institute recognized by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India and must have cleared the exam and have the results to show for it. 

What is required from the Principal officer before they can file the Insurance Web Aggregator Application?

The principal office must fulfill some requirements concerning the Insurance web aggregators applying for Insurance web aggregation. Without fulfilling the below-mentioned requirements, IRDAI would have no choice but to reject your application:

  1. The Principal Officer of the company must fulfill the educational requirements mentioned above. 
  2. The Principal Officer must undergo the additional insurance training mentioned above by an institute with IRDAI’s stamp of approval. 
  3. The Principal Officer should be of a sound mind and body. He should come under the “Fit and Proper” criteria in legal terms. It’s not just about sound mind and body; the principal officer should also not be convicted of any crime or has any pending investigations in the Department of Revenue Intelligence. 
  4. While the consultants will apply, the Principal officer has to appear before IRDAI – representing his case to acquire the registration. 

How is a Principal Officer Appointed?

Appointment of Principal officer goes hand in hand with applying for Insurance web aggregator registration. Meaning that when the documents are being submitted, the documents about the Principal officer are considered enough in terms of appointing the principal officer. 

Here is the list of documents specific to the appointment of the principal officer:

  1. Circum Vitae of the Principal officer
  2. Copies of the qualification documents of the Principal officer
  3. Self Certification by the Principal officer that they are not in any way prior related to the insurance industry (other than education) and thus is not ineligible to apply for the Insurance web aggregator IRDA license. 
  4. Results and training certificate received from IRDAI approved institute regarding insurance web aggregator platform. 
  5. An undertaking that states that:
    • IRDAI hasn’t rejected the prior application for registration
    • No codes have been violated by the Principal officer mentioned in the IRDAI regulations. 
    • The only reason Principal Officer is appointed is to execute the company’s functions. 
    • The principal officer is not the director, CEO, or assigned or represented any other company that does the same Insurance web aggregator business. 
  6. An information sheet containing all the details of the Principal officer
  7. An information sheet that highlights and specifies all the responsibilities of the principal officers, including
    • Qualification
    • Achievements
    • Experience
    • Equity Interest in the company
    • Directorship details if held in previous companies.

What are the Compliances of the Insurance Web aggregator specific to the Principal officer?

Every year, the Principal officer must submit a confirmation Certificate to the IRDAI. It would state that the company has adhered to all the regulations mentioned in the IRDAI act during that financial year.

Also Read: The Complete List for Dos and Don’ts of IRDA Web Aggregator 

How to change the Principal Officer

To change the principal officer, approval must first be obtained from the IRDAI. The company applying for change should apply for the same – it wants the change to happen. 

In what circumstances the Principal officer can be disqualified?

Under the following circumstances, the Principal officer can be disqualified:

  1. The PO is a minor
  2. The PO doesn’t fit the “fit and proper” criteria.
  3. The PO has been found to have a criminal history associated with Financial crimes.
  4. The PO has committed, whether knowingly or unknowingly, a fraudulent act. 
  5. The PO has not provided the correct qualification details.
  6. The PO hasn’t passed the insurance exams.
  7. The PO has contravened the code of conduct associated with Insurance web aggregation. 

What are the points in the code of conduct that a Principal officer must abide by?

There are four matters of code of conduct that a Principal Officer of an Insurance web aggregator company has to abide by at all times. Failing to do so might lead the IRDAI to disqualify them:

  1. Code of Conduct about client relationship
  2. Code of conduct about handling complaints
  3. Code of conduct about an advertisement
  4. Code of conduct about training

Code of conduct about client relationship

  • Each deal conducted with clients must be in good faith.
  • The deal should be conducted with care and diligence.
  • All the information provided by the client must be confidential. 
  • The principal officer’s responsibility is to keep the client’s information confidential. 
  • The PO should inform the client about the risks and rewards of each insurance policy.
  • The PO should provide any conflict of interest, i.e., must knowingly avoid dealing with anyone that can compromise the integrity of the business. 

Code of conduct about handling complaints

  • The company should have a repository to record the complaints. 
  • The website should entail all required information and specify the option for the client to file the complaint
  • The website has to acknowledge any complaint within 5 days of receiving it. 
  • The company should deal with the complaint to the client’s satisfaction. 
  • Once the complaints are resolved, the company must send a resolution letter to the complainant. 
  • It’s the Key Management Person’s job to handle the complaints.

Code of Conduct about an advertisement

The Principal officer’s responsibility is to ensure that the Insurance web aggregation website doesn’t contain advertisements or biased information. 

Code of conduct regarding receipt of remuneration

The principal officer must disclose the remuneration received once the insurance policy is sold to the client. 

Code of conduct about training

  • The staff of the insurance web aggregator company should be aware of the regulations and follow them to the tee
  • Every staff member should receive adequate training
  • Each member of the staff has to be evaluated using a specialized system.
  • Each staff member must be familiar with the legal requirement associated with the company’s functioning. 
  • The client should be informed or made aware that the company has signed the Section 41 of the Insurance act – prohibiting any share of commission
  • Every office must have a copy of this code of conduct.
  • The PO should file the annual returns of the company within 15 days of the period specified by the Insurance Authority (IRDAI)

Principal officer’s role in renewing the IRDA license

For the renewal of the Insurance web aggregator license, the Principal Officer should undergo the required renewal training. It has to be done 6 months in advance of the end of license validity. 

Conclusion

A principal officer is the lifeblood of an Insurance web aggregation company. If the officer slips and breaks any regulations or the code of conduct, the entire company has to suffer. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the code and take proactive steps always to stay compliant, as suggested by Registrationwala. That way, your insurance web aggregator company would always be seen positively by the IRDAI. 


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