India: Product Filing Procedures For General Insurance Products: Significant Overhaul Of The File & Use Procedure

Last Updated: 2 March 2016
Article by Celia Jenkins

Until very recently, the IRDAI's Guidelines on "File and Use" Requirements for General Insurance Products of 28th September 2006 governed the procedures and processes for introducing, modifying and withdrawing general insurance products. As a matter of law and practice, proposed products were required to be filed with the IRDAI in the specified manner and once the approval of the IRDAI was obtained, the product could be distributed.

The procedures and processes have now significantly changed with the introduction of the IRDAI's Guidelines on "Product Filing Procedures for General Insurance Products" ("Revised Guidelines") which were introduced on 18th February 2016 following an exposure draft of the guidelines issued by the IRDAI for comments a couple of months earlier. The Revised Guidelines come into force on 1st April 2016 and will, therefore, apply to all new general insurance products filed on or after 1st April 2016.

The Revised Guidelines apply to all general insurance products except health, personal accident and travel insurance products which are governed by the IRDA (Health Insurance) Regulations 2013 and the accompanying guidelines. In terms of products which are governed by the wordings of the erstwhile Tariff Advisory Committee, the Revised Guidelines make it clear that those standard wordings shall continue to apply and the tariff wordings shall not be abridged beyond the options specifically permitted.  

Per the Revised Guidelines, all general insurance products are meant to be classified as "retail products" or "commercial products" where, broadly, retail products are those issued to individual customers (and their families) and commercial products are those issued to entities other than individuals such as firms, companies or trusts.

The Revised Guidelines do not require products approved under the previous File & Use Guidelines to be re-filed, but if Insurers wish to continue offering those products, they will need to classify those products as "retail products" or "commercial products" and file a list of those products (duly certified by the CEO and Appointed Actuary) with the IRDAI within 60 days of the issuance of the Revised Guidelines. Insurers may also choose to withdraw any of their existing products by following the procedure set out in the Revised Guidelines.  

The Revised Guidelines set out detailed "guiding principles" for product design and rating which include the following:

  • The product should be a genuine insurance product covering an insurable risk with a real risk transfer;
  • All products should go through "appropriate due diligence" to ensure compliance with the regulations;
  • Products should be fair and non-discriminatory to all stakeholders and should take care of the policyholders' reasonable expectations. Insurance product design should ensure "transparency and clarity in wordings, terms, coverage, exclusions and conditions in order to devise a fair and balanced risk transfer mechanism through insurance".
  • Products must be need-based so that "unnecessary and superfluous coverage are not added and the necessary ones are not excluded".
  • All product literature is meant to be in simple language and technical terminology should be sufficiently clarified such that it can be understood by laymen.
  • If Insurers intend to introduce products used in foreign jurisdictions, then those products must be examined and modified in terms of the local regulatory requirements and Indian policyholder requirements.
  • Insurers are required to use similar wordings across products for describing the same cover or similar requirements (such as clauses on renewal, basis of insurance, due diligence, cancellation, arbitration and claims reporting).  

In terms of procedures for introducing products, the Revised Guidelines specify that:

  • Retail products are to be filed under the File & Use procedure set out under the Revised Guidelines. Broadly, the Insurer cannot market the product unless the IRDAI has confirmed in writing that the contents of the product have been noted and a Unique Identification Number (UIN) has been allotted for the product. The File & Use procedure appears to be aimed at being time-bound.
  • Commercial products are to be filed under the Use & File procedure set out under the Revised Guidelines. This procedure is meant to be "self governing process" where the Insurer's Product Management Committee (PMC) will play a pivotal role. Broadly, the once the product is scrutinised, reviewed and recommended by the PMC (without any exceptions to the Insurer's Board approved underwriting policy) and accepted by the Insurers, the product documents will be uploaded on the IRDAI's website and a UIN will be allotted. The Insurer can market the product thereafter. The Revised Guidelines make it clear that the IRDAI may check the documentation in detail and if it finds that the product is not in the interests of the policyholders or in conformance with the regulations, it may direct for the product to be suspended, withdrawn or even filed under the File & Use procedure.

One of the most significant changes introduced by the Revised Guidelines is the role of the PMC. All Insurers are required to form a PMC which shall include "high level officers" of the Insurer and perhaps including the Appointed Actuary, Chief Underwriting Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Compliance Officer and Head Reinsurance. The PMC is required to act as a "self governing body" to ensure "quality product design, filing with complete compliance of the regulatory requirements and performance review". The Revised Guidelines make it clear that the CEO of the Insurer shall have overall responsibility to ensure that a robust due diligence process is in place to "mitigate risks of new and current products". Further, as a part of "good corporate governance", the Board of Directors have the responsibility to oversee the activities of the PMC.

One other significant change is the revised requirements pertaining to the lawyer's certification of the terms and conditions in each product. The Revised Guidelines provide that the lawyers certificate (Form D) for each product must be signed by a lawyer domiciled in India who is: (a) employed by the Insurer and has at least 3 years of experience in the Indian insurance/legal service and is entrusted with the sole/main responsibility of developing insurance products; OR (b) a lawyer of a reputed law firm or an independent practitioner, having at least 3 years of experience in the Indian insurance/legal service and "well versed with insurance policy wordings". However, after 3 years from the issuance of the Revised Guidelines, the Form D for all products is to be provided by an employee of the Insurer that fulfils the requirements of the Revised Guidelines. 

Press reports indicate that the time-bound File & Use Procedure and the "self-regulated" Use & File Procedure have been received positively within the industry. The Revised Guidelines are, definitely a significant step towards a self regulated regime where Insurers will be required to carry out their own internal due diligence and certification with significantly increased responsibility on the management of the Insurer.      

For further information on this topic please contact Tuli & Co 

Tel +91 11 4593 4000, fax +91 11 4593 4001 or email

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Celia Jenkins
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.