Raises questions about violation of SC orders and insurance regulator’s norms
Despite the government extending the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various services to March 31, 2018, many insurance companies are insisting that customers part with their Aadhaar details for accessing their services.
Principal among such insurers is the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), whose newly designed web portal requires mandatory registration of policy holders’ Aadhaar details to even access their own policy pages. It also seems to be the first instance of its kind when access to a web page is denied for want of Aadhaar details.
If a customer doesn’t update his or her Aadhaar number upon signing in, they will not be able to move to their policy page to access their payment history, policy documents or any other details on the LIC’s website. LIC’s insistence on Aadhaar to even access the policy page on its website violates the spirit of both the Supreme Court’s orders and the insurance regulator’s circular on the deadline, say legal experts. “This is worse than a paywall. It is an act of coercion,” said a leading lawyer who didn’t wish to be identified. The Prevention of Money Laundering (Seventh Amendment) Rules, 2017, extending the Aadhaar deadline to the end of March, was notified on December 13. Following this, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) issued a notification to that effect.
Several people who spoke to The Hindu said they were unable to log on to their own profile page to access their insurance premium records on LIC’s website without linking their policies with their Aadhaar numbers.
Policy-holder Prasanto K. Roy said since he had to download his policy receipts, he had no other way out but to submit his Aadhaar number to access his account. R. Steve Wilfred too faced the same issue. “It was my mom’s LIC account. The Aadhaar and PAN details are not updated with LIC. But my sister did update her account to pay the premium,” Mr. Wilfred said.
When the issue was raised by The Hindu with a top official at LIC on Tuesday ,the official said he needed to consult with superiors on the issue and would revert in a day.
However, a day later no reply was received. An email to IRDA Chairman on Tuesday did not elicit a reply till the time of going to press.
Some other insurance companies are also turning a blind eye to the norm, claim many citizens who have faced such hurdles of late. This is not limited to life insurance, but is also seen among holders of health, motor and travel insurance policies as well.
Customers cite the IRDA guidelines that say that “the date of submission of the Aadhaar Number and Permanent Account Number or Form 60 by the clients to the reporting entity is 31st March, 2018 or six months from the date of commencement of account based relationship.” Yet, without any update being provided to them by their insurance companies, they are being forced to link Aadhaar even when the Supreme Court is yet to give a final decision on the issue, they say.