D2C Insurance Broking Penalised Rs1 Crore by IRDAI; Also Gets Warning for Running RenewBuy.com
Moneylife Digital Team 19 July 2021
Insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has imposed a penalty of Rs1 crore on D2C Insurance Broking Pvt Ltd for appointing agents and canvassers to bring in the insurance business. The insurance broker was also found guilty of running a website (renewbuy.com) with a different name and was issued a warning for the same.
 
D2C Insurance Broking was accused of using the brand name ‘renewbuy’ for soliciting insurance online without “visibly and clearly displaying the broker’s name on the website.” 
 
IRDAI found this to be violating Para 1 of Schedule VII under Regulation 22 of IRDA (Insurance Brokers Regulations,) 2013. As per this regulation, a website developed by an insurance broker should carry its own name as licensed by the authority. The usage of any other name or linkage to another website is prohibited.
 
The case pertains to March 2017, when IRDAI had conducted an on-site inspection of the broker and sought a reply on its finding from the broker on 20 November 2017. The broker replied on 28 December 2017. 
 
Later, on 18 October 2019 IRDAI issued a show-cause notice (SCN) to the broker. D2C Insurance Broking replied to the notice on 10 November 2019.
 
The broker submitted that its name, license number, the name of the principal officer and the licence certificate were made available under the “About Us” section of the RenewBuy.com website. It also claimed to have informed IRDAI about the domain name of their website as ‘renewbuy.com’ through a letter dated 23 December 2014.
 
In its order, the insurance regulator said that the “Broker was using a website carrying the name ‘renewbuy’ for soliciting insurance business without visibly and clearly displaying the broker’s name on the said website.” 
 
The regulator also noted that the broker could not submit any communication from IRDAI, which exempted it from complying with the regulatory provision. On the availability of relevant details on the “About Us” page of renewbuy.com, IRDAI said the same was not visible from the homepage of the website during the inspection.
 
“The above indicates that the broker has knowingly failed to comply with the regulatory requirement and the broker is warned for the same,” IRDAI says in its order.
 
IRDAI says it found that the insurance broker had “either engaged their promoter company D2C Consulting Pvt Ltd, who used their own employees for canvassing insurance for the broker or engaged other entities like BizConnect and Bersavi India Pvt Ltd (through their promoter company) who employed canvassers and agents using a mobile app viz. renewbuy partners.”
 
However, IRDAI said in its order that the broker employed agents or canvassers to bring in business in collusion with the promoter company D2C Consulting. 
 
The broker also admitted during the personal hearing that it had engaged various unlicensed individuals and entities through D2C Consulting for bringing business and soliciting insurance business.
 
According to the IRDAI order, the broker was guilty of violating Para 3(b) of Schedule VI-A under Regulation 28 of IRDA (Insurance Brokers) Regulations 2013 from the year 2015-16 till the date of inspection. This regulation mandates that “Every insurance Broker shall confirm that he doesn’t employ agents or canvassers to bring in business.”
 
IRDAI imposed a penalty of Rs1 crore on the broker for violation of Schedule VI-A under Regulation 28 of IRDA (Insurance Brokers) Regulations 2013.
 
The IRDAI also warned the D2C Insurance Broking for not having two qualified persons to solicit the insurance business.
 
The insurance regulator has allowed the broker to appeal to Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in case it feels “aggrieved by any of the decisions in this order.”
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