By Bijit Das and Reetika Wadhwa
Advertisements play an essential role in carving out the image of the entrepreneur in respect of the services it intends to offer. Not only the advertisements help in dissemination of information about the services, but they also help in convincing and thus attracting the consumers to the unique quality, standards and benefits being offered therein thus enhancing the sales of the provider.
Insurance and law
Insurance may be defined as a social device providing financial compensation for the effects of misfortune, the payments being made from the accumulated contribution of all parties participating in the scheme.
In India the transactions pertaining to insurance business are being governed under the provisions of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India Act, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’) and the guidance of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (hereinafter referred to as ‘IRDA’)
Regulation of advertisements in the Insurance Sector
With a view to monitor the content of the advertisements intended to be broadcasted in respect of the insurance policies being offered for purchase, the insurers should ensure adherence to the guidelines listed down by IRDA under IRDA (Insurance Advertisements and Disclosure) Regulations, 2000 as well as the Advertisement Standards Council of India (hereinafter referred to as the ‘ASCI’).
Some of the components of the advertisements for insurance products have been listed as under:
- Information regarding the policy
- Type of coverage
- Prominently disclose in the advertisement and that part of the advertisement that is required to be returned to the company or insurance intermediary or insurance agent by a prospect or an insured the full particulars of the insurance company, and not merely any trade name or monogram or logo.
- State clearly and unequivocally that insurance is the subject matter of the solicitation and state the full registered name of the insurer/ intermediary/ insurance agent.
- Should not promote unfair or misleading content.
- Should comprise of content in legible font size, colour, type.
- Should indicate the name of the products and the benefits associated thereto.
- There should be clear disclosure of any underlaying conditions.
- Should not include logos, marks, symbols which are likely to create confusion regarding the source of the provider.
- Should include contact details of the insurer.
The IRDA Notification No. F.No.IRDA/Reg./7/2000 dated July 14, 2000 prescribes to take the following actions, if the advertisement is not in accordance with the above components:
- issue a letter to the advertiser seeking information, within a specific time
- direct the advertiser to correct or modify the advertisement already issued in a manner suggested by the Authority with a stipulation that the corrected or modified advertisement shall receive the same type of publicity as the one sought to be corrected or modified
- direct the advertiser to discontinue the advertisement forthwith
- or, any other action as deemed fit
While insurance are the devices which are opted owing to their ability to mitigate the risks of uncertainties, insurers need to ascertain that the marketing techniques including advertisements are in consonance with the standards acceptable in India. IRDA as well as ASCI have laid down an extensive framework in order to safeguard the interests of the purchasers of insurance products.