INTRODUCTION


The insurance industry in Pakistan is being regulated by the Insurance Ordinance, 2000, which gives special importance and stress upon to regulate the business of the insurance industry to ensure the protection of the interests of insurance policy holders and to promote sound development of the insurance industry and for matters connected herewith and incidental thereto.
The basic principle of law is that it should govern. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behaviour, especially that of all its stakeholders. The quintessence of any law making should be the inbuilt mechanism of accountability system that leads towards the “Rule of Law”. Keeping the same in view, Insurance Ordinance, 2000 have a separate chapter relating to establishment and existence of the Office of Federal Insurance Ombudsman as essential part of inbuilt ability to judiciously regulate the insurance industry and to ensure the protection of stakeholders with justice without delay.
The Institution of Federal Insurance Ombudsman was established in 2006 under Insurance Ordinance, 2000 as an independent and autonomous organization. Its empowerment was further strengthened by the Federal Ombudsman Intuitional Reforms Act, 2013. The core objective of this institution is to provide speedy and free of cost justice to the aggrieved complainants of the Insurance sector.

After taking charge as Federal Insurance Ombudsman Mr. Muhammad Raeesuddin Paracha made assessment of the task that lay ahead, which revealed that two major aspects required an earnest and immediate focus, firstly an improved public perception of this important institution and secondly a systemic and enhanced public access with institutional expansion of this Institution to facilitate the stakeholders.

Based on the visionary and go the extra mile approach the mechanism to provide speedy justice to the aggrieved persons in a transparent way streamlined. The motto of providing relief at the doorstep of the aggrieved person leads the way of establishment of Federal Insurance Ombudsman Regional Offices all over the country. Today, the Federal Insurance Ombudsman has Regional presence at Islamabad and Lahore, while opening of more regional offices at provincial headquarters / big cities is in the offing. The induction of regional setups has led to a quicker disposal of complaints of the aggrieved especially from far flung areas of the country. Simultaneously with the initiation of an effective Public Information Campaign through consistent print & social media interventions and proactive involvement of the insurance industry and visible protection of the interests of the Policyholders has resulted in manifold increase in the registration of complaints from the aggrieved Policyholders.
In terms of an effective compliance of the Federal Government’s motto of ‘Good Governance’, the desired achievements are quite illustrative and exemplary. The role of the institution of Federal Insurance Ombudsman Pakistan is now being recognized by all stakeholders as well as the regulatory bodies of the insurance industry. By achieving far more improved perception of the office of Federal Insurance Ombudsman under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Muhammad Raeesuddin Paracaha, Federal Insurance Ombudsman, the insurance industry also perceives this institution with a different angle.

The first priority of this forum, as per Insurance Ordinance, 2000 is to facilitate the parties for an amicable settlement by way of mediation failing which findings are communicated to the concerned insurance company with necessary directions. The Federal Insurance Ombudsman acts upon the legislations in its true spirit and as such a huge number of complaints are being resolved and settled amicably immediately after taking cognizance of the same. It is now a matter of record that the insurance companies in Pakistan who hitherto were repudiating the claims for different reasons have now transformed their behaviour into a client friendly attitude and resolving most of the matters amicably.

With a proactive approach, the Federal Insurance Ombudsman & his team of Advisors with all of their energy and legal professionalism changed the perception of this institution resulting in the speed, transparency, fair justice and the complete protection of interests of insurance policy holders.
The success of the forum of Federal Insurance Ombudsman Pakistan in providing speedy and cost-free justice to complainants over the years can be measured through the yardstick of 200% rise in registration of complaints viz a viz the last year, 2015-2016 & 250% higher than the number of complaints in the year 2014-15 and corresponding relief. This scenario has helped greatly in relieving the burden of new cases on the over burdened judicial system in Pakistan and provision of speedy and timely justice to the aggrieved policy holders.
The benefits of enhanced working of Federal Insurance Ombudsman are not limited to Policy holders alone. The insurance industry in Pakistan is also a major beneficiary of this system. On one hand the insurance companies are saving their huge expenditure on lengthy & lumbersome legal proceedings in the Courts of Law & on the other it has raised the level of confidence of ordinary citizen of Pakistan on the insurance products which leads to sizeable growth in the insurance sector.