Contents ths insurance act, 1938 Arrangement of Sections




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Limitation of expenses of management in general insurance business
40C. (1) After the 31st day of December, 1949, no insurer shall, in respect of any class of general insurance business transacted by him in India, spend in any calendar year as expenses of management including commission or remuneration for procuring business an amount in excess of the prescribed limits arid in prescribing any such limits regard shall be had to the size and age of the insurer:
Provided that where an insurer has spend as such expenses in any year an amount in excess of the amount permissible under this subsection, he shall not be deemed to have contravened the provisions of this section, if the excess amount so spent is within such limits as may be fixed in respect of the year by the Authority after consultation with the Executive Committee of the General Insurance. Council constituted under section 64F, by which the actual expenses incurred may exceed the expenses permissible under this sub-section.
(2) Every insurer as aforesaid shall incorporate in the revenue account a certificate signed by the chairman and two directors and by the principal officer of the insurer, and by an auditor certifying that all expenses of management wherever incurred, whether directly or indirectly, in respect of the business referred to in this section have been fully debited in the revenue account as expenses.
Explanation.—In this section,—


  1. "calendar year" shall have the meaning assigned to it in section 40B;




  1. "expenses of management" means all charges, wherever insured whether directly or indirectly, including commission payments of all kinds and, in the case of an insurer having his principal place of business outside India, a proper share of head office expenses, which shall not be less than such percentage as may be prescribed, of his gross premium income (that is to say, the premium income without taking into account premiums or re­insurance ceded or accepted) written direct in India during the year, but in computing the expenses of management in India the following, and only the following expenses may be excluded, namely­




    1. in the case of an insurer having his principal place of business in India, a share of head office expenses in respect of general insurance business transacted by him outside India not exceeding such percentage of his gross direct premium written outside India as may be prescribed;

    2. in the case of an insurer having his principal place of business outside India, a share of the expenses of his office in India in respect of general insurance business transacted by him outside India through his office in India, not exceeding such percentage of his gross direct premium written outside India through his office in India, as may be prescribed;

    3. any expenses debited to profit and loss account relating exclusively to the management of capital, and dealings with share holders and a proper share of managerial expenses calculated in such manner as may be prescribed; and

    4. any expenses debited to claims in the revenue account in Form F of Part II of the Third Schedule;




  1. "insurance business transacted in India" includes insurance business, wherever effected relating to any property situate in India or to any vessel or aircraft registered in India.


Prohibition of rebates
41. (1) No person shall allow or offer to allow, either directly or indirectly, as an inducement to any person to take or renew or continue an insurance in respect of any kind of risk relating to lives or property in India, any rebate of the whole or part of the commission payable or any rebate of the premium shown on the policy, nor shall any person taking out or renewing or continuing a policy accept any rebate, except such rebate as may be allowed in accordance with the published prospectuses or tables of the insurer:
Provided that acceptance by an insurance agent of commission in connection with a policy of life insurance taken out by himself on his own life shall not be deemed to be acceptance of a rebate of premium within the meaning of this sub section if at the time of such acceptance the insurance agent satisfies the prescribed conditions establishing that he is a bona fide insurance agent employed by the insurer.
(2) Any person making default in complying with the provisions of this section shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

Licensing of insurance agents
42. (1) The Authority or an officer authorised by him in this behalf shall, in the manner determined by the regulations made by it and on payment of the fee which shall not be determined by the regulations, which shall not be more than two hundred and fifty rupees, issue to any person making any application in the manner determined by the regulations, a licence to act as an insurance agent for the purpose of soliciting or procuring insurance business:
Provided that—

  1. in the case of an individual, he does not suffer from any of the disqualification mentioned in sub section (4); and

  2. in the case of a company or firm, any of its directors or partners does not suffer from any of the said disqualifications:


Provided further that any licence issued immediately before the commencement of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999, shall be deemed to have been issued in accordance with the regulations which provide for such licence.
(2) A licence issued under this section shall entitle the holder to act as an insurance agent for any insurer.
(3) A licence issued under this section, after the commencement of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999, shall remain in force for a period of three years only from the date of issue, but shall, if the applicant being an individual does not, or being a company or firm any of its directors or partners, does not suffer from any of the disqualification mentioned in clauses (b), (c), (d), (e), (ea) and (f) of sub section (4) and the application for renewal of the licence reaches the issuing authority at least thirty days before the date on which the licence ceases to remain in force, be renewed for a period of three years at any one time on payment of the fee determined by the regulations made by the Authority which shall not be more than rupees two hundred and fifty, and an additional fee of an amount determined by the regulations not exceeding rupees one hundred by way of penalty, if the application for renewal of the licence does not reach the issuing authority at least thirty days before the date on which the licence ceases to remain in force.
(3A) No application for the renewal of a licence under this section shall be entertained if the application does not reach the issuing authority before the licence ceases to remain in force:
Provided that the Authority may, if satisfied that undue hardship would be caused otherwise, accept any application in contravention of this subsection on payment by the applicant of a penalty of seven hundred and fifty rupees.
(4) The disqualifications above referred to shall be the following:


  1. that the person is a minor;

  2. that he is found to be of unsound mind by a Court of competent jurisdiction;

  3. that he has been found guilty of criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust or cheating or forgery or an abetment of or attempt to commit any such offence by a Court of competent jurisdiction:



Provided that where at least five years have elapsed since the completion of the sentence imposed on any person in respect of any such offence, the Authority shall ordinarily declare in respect of such person that his conviction shall cease to operate as a disqualification under this clause;


  1. that in the course of any judicial proceeding relating to any policy of insurance of the winding up of an insurance company or in the course of an investigation of the affairs of all insurer it has then found that he has been guilty off or has knowingly participated in or connived at any fraud, dishonestly fir misrepresentation against an insurer or an insured.




  1. that in the case of an individual, he does not possess the requisite qualifications and practical training for a period not exceeding twelve months, as may be specified by the regulations made by the Authority in this behalf;

(ea) that in the case of a company or firm making an application under sub-section (1) or sub-section (3), a director or a partner or one or more of its officers or other employees so designated by it and in the case of any other person, the chief executive, by whatever name called, or one or more of his employees designated by him, do not possess the requisite qualifications and practical training and have not passed such an examination as required under clauses (e) and (f);


(g) that he violates the code of conduct as may be specified by the regulations made by the Authority.
(5) if it be found that an insurance agent being an individual is, or being a company or firm contains a director or partner who is suffering from any of the disqualifications mentioned in sub section (4), then, without prejudice to any other penalty to which he may be liable, the Authority shall, and if the insurance agent has knowingly contravened any of the provisions of this Act may, cancel the licence issued to the agent under this section.
(6) The Authority may issue a duplicate licence to replace a licence lost, destroyed or mutilated on payment of such fee not exceeding rupees fifty as may be determined by the regulations.
(7) Any person who acts as an insurance agent without holding a licence issued under this section to act as such shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees., and any insurer or any person acting on behalf of an insurer, who appoints as an insurance agent any person not licensed to act as such or transacts any insurance business in India through any such person shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
(8) Where the person contravening sub section (7) is a company or a firm, then, without prejudice to any other proceedings which may be taken against the company, or firm, every director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, and every partner of the firm who is knowingly a party to such contravention shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees.
Registration of principal agents, chief agents and special agents
42A. (1) The Authority or an officer authorised by it in this behalf shall in the prescribed manner and on payment of the prescribed fee, which shall not be more than twenty five rupees for a principal agent or a chief agent and ten rupees for a special agent, register any person who makes an application to him in the prescribed manner if,—


  1. in the case of an individual, he does not suffer from any of the disqualifications mentioned in sub section (4) of Section 42, or

  2. in the case of a company or firm, any of its directors or partners does not suffer from any of the said disqualifications,

and a certificate to Act as a principal agent, chief agent or special agent, as the case may be, for the purpose of procuring insurance business shall be issued to him.


(2) A certificate issued under this section shall entitle the holder thereof to act as a principal agent, chief agent, or special agent, as the case may be, for any insurer.
(3) A certificate issued under this section shall remain in force for a period of twelve months only from the date of issue, but shall, on application made on this behalf, be renewed from year to year on production of a certificate from the insurer concerned that the provisions of clauses (2) and (3) of Part A of the Sixth Schedule in the case of a principal agent, the provisions of clauses (2) and (4) of Part B of the said Schedule in the case of a chief agent, and the provisions of clauses (2) and (3) of Part C of the said Schedule in the case of a special agent, have been complied with, and on payment of the prescribed fee, which shall not be more than twenty five rupees, in the case of a principal agent or a chief agent, and ten rupees in the case of a special agent, and an additional fee of the prescribed amount not exceeding five rupees by way of penalty, in cases where the application for renewal of the certificate does not reach the issuing authority before the date on which the certificate ceases to remain in force:
Provided that, where the applicant is an individual, he does not suffer from any of the disqualifications mentioned in clauses (b) to (d) of sub section (4) of section 42 and where the applicant is a company or a firm, any of its directors or partners does not suffer from any of the said disqualifications.
(4) Where it is found that the principal agent, chief agent or special agent being an individual is, or being a company or firm contains a director or partner who is suffering from any of the disqualifications mentioned in sub­section (4) of section 42, without prejudice to any other penalty to which he may be liable, the Authority shall, and where a principal agent, chief agent or special agent has contravened any of the provisions of this Act may cancel the certificate issued under this section to such principal agent, chief agent or special agent.
(5) The authority which issued any certificate under this section may issue a duplicate certificate to replace a certificate lost, destroyed or mutilated on payment of the prescribed fee, which shall not be more than two rupees.
(6) Any person who acts as a principal agent, chief agent or special agent, without holding a certificate issued under this section to act as such, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, and any insurer or any person acting on behalf of an insurer, who appoints as a principal agent, chief agent or special agent any person not entitled to act as such or transacts any insurance business in India through any such person, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
(7) Where the person contravening sub section (6) is a company or a firm, then, without prejudice to any other proceedings which may be taken against the company or firm, every director, manager, secretary or any other officer of the company, and every partner of the firm who is knowingly a party to such contravention shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
(8) The provisions of sub sections (6) and (7) shall not take effect until the expiry of six months from the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950.
(9) No insurer shall, on or after the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2002, appointment or transact any insurance business in India through any principal agent, chief agent or special agent.
Regulation of employment of principal agents
42B. (1) No insurer shall, after the expiration of seven years from the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950, appoint, or transact any insurance business in India, through a principal agent.
(2) Every contract between an insurer and a principal agent shall be in writing and the terms contained in Part A of the Sixth Schedule shall be deemed to be incorporated in, and form part of, every such contract.
(3) No insurer shall, after the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950 (47 of 1950), appoint any person as a principal agent except in a presidency town unless the appointment is by way of renewal of any contract subsisting at such commencement.
(4) Within sixty days of the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950 (47 of 1950), every principal agent shall file with the insurer concerned a full list of insurance agents employed by him indicating the terms of the contract between the principal agent and each of such insurance agents, and, if any principal agent fails to file such a list within the period specified, any commission payable to such principal agent on premiums received from the date of expiry of the said period of sixty days until the date of the filing of the said list shall, notwithstanding anything in any contract to the contrary, cease to be so payable.
(5) A certified copy of every contract as is referred to in sub section (2) shall be furnished by the insurer to the Authority within thirty days of his entering into such contract, and intimation of any change in any such contract shall be furnished by the insurer with full particulars thereof to the Authority within thirty days of the making of any such change.
(6) If the commission due to any insurance agent in respect of any general insurance business procured by such agent is not paid by the principal agent for any reason, the insurer may pay the insurance agent the commission so due and recover the amount so paid from the principal agent concerned.
(7) Every contract as is referred to in sub section (2), subsisting at the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950 (47 of 1950), shall, with respect to terms regarding remuneration, be deemed to have been so altered as to be in accordance with the provisions of sub section (4) of section 40A.
(8) If any dispute arises as to whether a person is or was a principal agent the matter shall be referred to the Authority, whose decision shall be final.
(9) Every insurer shall maintain a register in which the name and address of every principal agent appointed by him, the date of such appointment and the date, if any, on which the appointment ceased shall be entered.

Regulation of employment of chief and special agents
42C. (1) Every contract between art insurer carrying on life insurance business and a chief agent shall be in writing, and shall specify the area (not being less in extent than a district or the equivalent thereof) for which the chief agent is appointed, and the terms contained in Part B of the Sixth Schedule shall be deemed to be incorporated in, and form part of, every such contract.
(2) No chief agent shall, either directly or through insurance agents or special agents employed by or through him procure life insurance business for the insurer or any area outside the area for which he has been appointed or In any area for which another chief agent has been appointed or in any area in which the head office or any branch office of the insurer is operating, and neither the head office nor any branch office of the insurer shall operate in any area for which a chief agent has been appointed:
Provided that nothing in this sub section shall be deemed to prohibit the head office of an insurer which had been operating at the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950; for a period of not less than ten years before such commencement within the municipal limits of any town where the head office is situate, and a chief agent who, in pursuance of an agreement in writing, had been operating for a similar period within such limits, from continuing to operate within the said limits:

Provided further that nothing in this sub section shall be deemed to prohibit an insurance agent from procuring life insurance business in or from any area and submitting the proposals direct to the principal office of the insurer in India.
(3) Within sixty days of the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950, every chief agent shall file with the insurer concerned a full list of the insurance agents employed by him, indicating the terms of the contract between the chief agent and each of such insurance agents and the business secured by each of such agents, and if any chief agent fails to file such a list within the period specified, any commission payable to such chief agent on premiums received from the date of the expiry of the said period of sixty days until the date of the filing of the said list shall, notwithstanding anything in any contract to the contrary, cease to be so payable.
(4) Every contract between an insurer carrying on life insurance business and a special agent, or between a chief agent of such insurer and a special agent, shall be in writing and the terms contained in Part C of the Sixth Schedule shall be deemed to be incorporated in, and form part of, every such contract:
Provided that the Authority may, in the case of a contract between a co-­operative life insurance society as defined in clause (b) of sub section (1) of section 95 and a co operative society registered under the Indian Co operative Societies Act, 1912 (2 of 1912), or under any other law for the time being in force and acting as a special agent, alter, to such extent as he thinks fit, all or any of the said terms.
(5) A certified copy of every contract as is referred to in sub section (1) or sub section (4) shall be furnished by the insurer or the chief agent to the Authority within thirty days of his entering into such contract, and intimation of any change in any such contract shall be furnished by the insurer or the chief agent with full particulars thereof to the Authority within thirty days of the making of any such change.
(6) No such contract as is referred to in sub section (1) or sub section (4) shall be entered into or renewed for a period exceeding ten years at any one time and notwithstanding the terms of any contract to the contrary, no option to renew any such contract given to any of the parties shall be enforceable without the consent of the other.
(7) Every contract between an insurer and a person acting on behalf of such insurer who, before the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950), has been employing insurance agents for the purpose of life insurance business, which is subsisting on such commencement, shall terminate after the expiration of ten years from such commencement, if it does not terminate earlier:
Provided that every such contract shall be modified by the parties before the 1st day of January, 1951, to bring it into conformity with this act, and ant, such modification shall­-


  1. as respects remuneration, whether in respect of business already procured or in respect of business to be procured thereafter, be such as may be mutually agreed upon between the parties, subject in the case of remuneration payable on business procured before such commencement, to a maximum of an overriding commission of two and a half per cent. plus a further commission not exceeding three and three quarter per cent. on premiums in respect of which no commission is payable to any insurance agent;

  2. be deemed to include all the terms specified in Part B or Part C of the Sixth Schedule, as the case may be:


Provided further that, in the event of any dispute as to the terms of any fresh contract, the matter shall be referred to arbitration
(8) Any such contract as is referred to in sub section (7) which was subsisting on the lst day of January, 1949, but has terminated or has been terminated before the commencement of the Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1950, shall be subject to the maximum limits specified in clause (i) of the proviso to sub-section (7) as respects remuneration, if any, payable on business procured before the termination of the contract.
(9) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent any special agent from receiving any renewal commission on policies effected through him as an insurance agent at any time before his appointment as such special agent.
(10) If any dispute arises as to whether a person is or was a chief agent or a special agent for the purposes of this Act, the matter shall be referred to the Authority whose decision shall be final.
(11) Every insurer shall maintain a register in which the name and address of every chief agent appointed by him, the date on which the appointment was made and the date, if any, on which the appointment ceased shall be entered, and a separate register in which similar particulars relating to every special agent shall be entered, and every chief agent shall maintain a register in which similar particulars relating to every special agent appointed by him shall be entered.
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