Mr Neeraj Tuli

Neeraj Tuli

Lawyer biography

Neeraj Tuli qualified as an English Solicitor and joined Kennedys in London as a trainee in 1988. He was offered partnership in 1995 and remained a partner until forming Tuli & Co in 2000. Mr Tuli’s work comprises insurance and reinsurance matters encompassing product development, coverage issues and representation work.

In relation to claims work, he has handled litigation in India, England, the US and Papua New Guinea; he has handled arbitration through the ICC in Paris and the LCIA in London, and has attended arbitration hearings in New Delhi, Mumbai, London, New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore and Papua New Guinea. Mr Tuli was the Chairman of the Indian Associated Chambers of Commerce Expert Insurance Committee for the years 2004-05 and 2005-06, and also lectures regularly in India and abroad on various insurance related topics.



Supreme Court's recent take on non-disclosure and misrepresentation
India | 21 May 2019

The Supreme Court recently ruled in a case between Reliance Life Insurance and the wife of an insured party who had died of a heart attack. Reliance had repudiated the respondent's claim due to the suppression of material facts by the insured, who had failed to provide details of a second policy with another insurer. In its decision, the Supreme Court considered the nature of the disclosure made by the insured and the validity of the ground for repudiation of the claim.

Arbitration where insurer denies liability
India | 22 May 2018

The Supreme Court recently upheld the validity of a quantum-only arbitration clause and affirmed that once an insurer has denied liability, arbitration is no longer an option (unless the insurer and insured come to an independent agreement to arbitrate). In its decision, the Supreme Court stressed the importance of reviewing an insurer's declinature letter to properly assess whether liability had been denied or accepted.

Special economic zones: new avenue for insurers and reinsurers
India | 25 August 2015

The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India recently issued rules and guidelines for insurers wishing to establish insurance businesses in special economic zones. However, the way in which the guidelines and rules will be implemented, and the enthusiasm with which domestic and global insurance industry players will receive this new means of carrying out insurance business, remain to be seen.

Foreign direct investment in insurance sector: industry still awaiting clarity
India | 28 July 2015

The insurance regulatory regime has experienced sweeping changes in recent months, but certain aspects are still unclear, including how foreign investment in Indian promoters will be calculated. As such, the insurance industry is eagerly awaiting further clarifications and amendments in order to finalise investment plans and determine how the recent reforms will be applied.

New rules for insurers – one step closer to foreign direct investment reforms
India | 10 March 2015

In order to implement the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2014, the Ministry of Finance has ratified the Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Rules 2015, which provide insurers and insurance intermediaries with much-needed clarity regarding increases in foreign investment. However, further clarifications and amendments are needed and, until then, it may be difficult to implement the rules and recent press note.

Delays in notification of motor vehicle theft are fatal to insurance claims
India | 17 February 2015

In a recent National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission case, the insured informed his insurer that his vehicle had been stolen three months after the theft. The insurer repudiated the claim on the grounds that the significant delay in notification was a violation of the insured's policy. The national commission ruled that any delay in notifying the police or an insurer after a vehicle has been stolen is fatal to a claim.

Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2014: law, limbo or window of opportunity?
India | 20 January 2015

The long-awaited increase in permitted foreign holdings in an Indian insurance company from 26% to 49% is now law. However, rather than becoming law through the usual legislative process, the reform became law through an unusual and temporary device: an ordinance. This places an unwelcome question mark over the resilience of this otherwise welcome reform.

ULIPs to senior citizens – review of SBI Life litigation
India | 29 July 2014

The Allahabad High Court has issued perhaps the sternest order ever issued against an insurer. It directed the insurance industry regulator to examine every policy issued by SBI Life Insurance Company Limited and, if any policy was issued in breach of the file and use procedure and regulations, to discontinue all of SBI Life's policies if appropriate.

49% foreign direct investment in insurance – finally?
India | 22 July 2014

In the 2014 Budget Speech, the finance minister stated that foreign direct investment in the insurance sector will be raised from 26% to 49% and that the increase will be coupled with "full Indian management and control", meaning that overseas investors will not have significant management rights or controls. The proposal will come into effect once both houses of Parliament pass the Insurance Bill.

IRDA unveils proposed framework for new distribution channel
India | 27 May 2014

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has drafted regulations that permit IRDA-licensed insurance marketing firms to distribute insurance products. If the regulations are finalised in their present form, apart from establishing a new type of distribution channel, the proposed remuneration structure is likely to have far-reaching implications.

Government clarifies foreign investment limit for insurance intermediaries
India | 25 February 2014

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion recently issued a press release clarifying that the 26% limit on foreign investment would apply to insurance companies, insurance brokers, third-party administrators, surveyors and loss assessors. While the press release made the position clear with respect to the insurance intermediaries named therein, it has not clarified the position in terms of other insurance intermediaries.

Redeveloping bancassurance: banks permitted to operate as insurance brokers
India | 14 January 2014

The Reserve Bank of India recently issued draft guidelines that (once finalised) would permit 'scheduled banks' to undertake insurance business departmentally, subject to the requirements specified in the guidelines. Among other things, the draft guidelines specify that insurance broking services can be offered only in accordance with a bank's comprehensive policy approved by its board of directors.

IRDA relaxes foreign reinsurance limits
India | 26 November 2013

While the government continues to make assurances that the 26% foreign investment limit in the insurance industry will be lifted, a modest change has recently been made to reinsurance limits. The new regulations introduce a relaxation for reinsurance purchased outside India from 10% to 20%, although the precise level will depend on the credit rating of the reinsurer concerned.

A matter of emphasis: regulatory focus shifts to loss adjusters
India | 12 November 2013

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority recently issued a circular directed at loss adjusters, or 'surveyors' as they are known in the Indian market, reiterating their duties and responsibilities. The circular refers to eight particular provisions that require "immediate attention and necessary action from all existing and new corporate [surveyors]".

Draft regulations attempt to streamline premium aggregation industry
India | 01 October 2013

New draft regulations issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority propose several important changes that, if implemented, could widely affect the entities presently licensed as web aggregators. While a few of the changes have been positively received, the draft regulations have largely been viewed as imposing greater restrictions on a segment of the industry that was already operating with limited functionality.

Insurance industry poised for change
India | 06 August 2013

The insurance industry is poised for two significant amendments that, if brought into force, are likely to change the manner in which it operates. A proposed increase in foreign investment limits should draw in foreign investors and has the potential to boost the Indian insurance industry, while new bancassurance norms will revolutionise distribution structures on both a theoretical and practical level.

Life Insurance Corporation: more equal than others?
India | 23 April 2013

It was recently confirmed that an insurer can now raise its equity investment limit to between 12% and 15%. However, private insurers had been hoping for an increase in the investment limit to 20%, as press reports indicate that the Ministry of Finance had allowed the government-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to invest up to 30%. It has been argued that there is one rule for the LIC and another for other insurers.

Return to comfort zone? IRDA proposes standardisation of health insurance
India | 19 February 2013

A slow creep back towards the tariff regime that existed from 1968 onwards has recently been evidenced in certain areas of the Indian insurance market, the most obvious of which is health insurance. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has issued an exposure draft proposing that health insurance be standardised in order to address the expectations of the public "more effectively".

Onwards and upwards? Cabinet approves increase in foreign ownership cap
India | 20 November 2012

The Cabinet recently approved an increase in the cap on foreign investment in the insurance and pension sectors from the existing 26% to 49%. If the measure is passed, an inflow of fresh capital, an increase in the number of insurance joint ventures and faster development of the market are expected. However, voices of dissent from within both the ruling coalition and the opposition may interrupt its passage through Parliament.

State-owned insurers caught in turbulence
India | 16 October 2012

Following detariffication, insurance prices across a number of sectors were freed from regulation. In those classes of business, premiums plummeted as general insurers pushed for a greater market share. At the same time, prices were cut dramatically in lines of business that had traditionally been profitable. Used to seeing these insurers report profits, the Ministry of Finance recently took action.

Delhi High Court: Indian insurance laws do not apply abroad
India | 26 June 2012

In Radiant Overseas Pvt Ltd v Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority the Delhi High Court overturned a previous decision which had ordered an Indian travel company which was conducting business on behalf of an Ukrainian insurer, but which was unlicensed for insurance activities, to cease its insurance operations. The court stated that Indian laws cannot be held to apply to insurance businesses outside India.

Paradigm shift for overseas reinsurers
India | 19 June 2012

Further to recent regulatory changes for overseas non-admitted reinsurers, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority is now reported to be considering further amendments to limit the percentage of premiums ceded by Indian insurers. If the proposed change is implemented, it will result in life insurers having to renegotiate a number of their treaty arrangements with overseas reinsurers.

Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill – the wait continues
India | 12 June 2012

For several years stakeholders in the Indian insurance industry, as well as various overseas insurance and reinsurance companies, have been awaiting the passage of the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008. However, developments in recent months indicate that the wait is not yet over.

Changing times for overseas reinsurers in India
India | 13 March 2012

Over the last few months, two events have occurred that will have a significant impact on overseas reinsurers' plans for carrying out reinsurance business in India. First, the Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance appears to have rejected the latest version of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2008. In addition, all cross-border reinsurers must now register with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.

Pool of uncertainty: motor insurance industry faces fraud allegation
India | 06 March 2012

The start of 2012 has seen further developments in the troubled motor insurance industry, with worrying reports that the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority is formally investigating seven general insurers in relation to suspected fraud committed by faking claims and siphoning off funds from the third-party motor pool.

IRDA v PFRDA: is another turf war brewing?
India | 22 November 2011

A number of press reports have suggested that a turf war may be brewing between the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority over whether annuity products should be sold by pension fund managers or insurers. This follows the recent similar clash between the IRDA and the Securities Exchange Board of India.

Commission rules on the continuing duty of good faith
India | 04 October 2011

A recent judgment of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is the first clear statement by the courts on whether there is a continuing duty of good faith. The commission ruled that utmost good faith must pervade the entire range of conduct of both the insurer and the insured. While no appeal has yet been filed, it is expected that the Supreme Court will be forced to consider the matter in due course.

Distance marketing of insurance products
India | 21 June 2011

The Indian insurance rules and regulations make clear that only licensed insurance agents or intermediaries can solicit or procure insurance business in India. However, a limited exception to this rule was created by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Advertising Guidelines, which permitted promotional activities to be carried out through cold calling by "other than licensed intermediaries".

Guidelines prohibit group policyholders from collecting service fees
India | 07 June 2011

The first regulatory guidance published by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority this year was a clarification of the 2005 Guidelines on Group Insurance Policies. The amendment aims to lower costs for policyholders, but if it leads to policies being discontinued it could result in individuals having to seek cover afresh or claims against insurers on servicing issues.

Turbulence in the credit insurance market
India | 01 March 2011

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has recently taken steps to regulate more closely and restrict the transaction of credit insurance business in India. These steps include the formulation and issuance of new guidelines to govern the conduct of credit insurance business. The Guidelines on Trade Credit Insurance have far-reaching implications within the insurance industry.

Delhi High Court comments on powers of insurance ombudsmen
India | 14 December 2010

The Delhi High Court recently considered the powers of insurance ombudsmen in a health policy renewal dispute in which an insurance company failed to comply with an ombudsman's ruling. The court upheld the ruling, indicating that the courts will be slow to interfere with an insurance ombudsman's ruling.

IRDA issues draft guidelines on outsourcing
India | 30 November 2010

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority recently expanded its guidance on outsourcing by issuing draft guidelines for insurers. The new guidelines are clearly aimed at stricter regulation of the insurance sector and as such have the potential to call into question a number of existing third-party contracts, as well as arrangements with agents and intermediaries.

Regulatory authority's order on licensed distribution upheld
India | 16 November 2010

The Indian insurance rules and regulations make clear that only licensed insurance agents or intermediaries can solicit or procure insurance business in India. The Delhi High Court recently considered this position in a case involving a travel agency which entered into an arrangement with an insurer in Ukraine to collect premiums and issue insurance certificates to Indian tourists travelling to Ukraine.

India Post: low-cost distribution and establishment of multiple agencies
India | 09 November 2010

Under Indian insurance rules and regulations, corporate agents are recognised as legitimate insurance distribution channels that are bound by the rules and regulations applicable to insurance agents. No corporate agent can represent more than one life insurer or one general insurer. However, for several years the industry has lobbied the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority to approve a multiple agency system.

Parliament settles unit-linked insurance policy dispute
India | 12 October 2010

A recently passed bill has resolved the controversy between the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority over the regulation of unit-linked insurance policies. The bill also provides a mechanism for the resolution of future regulatory disputes and arguably paves the way for a new super-regulator.

Cracking down on payments for insurance distribution
India | 05 October 2010

India's statutory and regulatory framework for insurance restricts the payments that can be made for the solicitation and procurement of insurance products. The root of this restriction is the Insurance Act 1938, which states that only licensed insurance agents or intermediaries can be paid for the solicitation and procurement of insurance products.

Turf wars II: moving towards a super-regulator
India | 25 May 2010

The initial expectation of a behind-the-scenes resolution of the dispute between the Securities Exchange Board of India and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority over which of them has jurisdiction over unit-linked insurance products appears to have been overly optimistic. Public interest litigation has been commenced in the Mumbai and Allahabad High Courts, naming a number of life insurers as respondents.

Turf wars: who regulates unit-linked products?
India | 30 March 2010

The capital markets regulator, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), recently wrote to a number of life insurers effectively questioning the basis on which they have been selling unit-linked insurance products to the public in circumstances where they are not registered with SEBI. The regulator believes these products to be collective investment schemes and thus subject to its approval before being sold to the public.

Corporate governance for insurers
India | 26 January 2010

At the end of 2009 the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) issued its Corporate Governance Guidelines for Insurers, which are to be adopted and implemented by April 1 2010. According to the IRDA, insurers need a corporate governance framework that clearly defines roles, responsibilities and accountability within the organization, and that contains built-in checks and balances.

Recent Developments in the Health Insurance Market
India | 25 August 2009

The health insurance market has shown positive growth rates in recent years and is projected to grow at a rate of 31.5% during the period 2007 to 2015. This update summarizes the regulatory framework for health insurance and analyzes the insurance regulator's recent circular of March 31 2009. It also looks at the market scenario for health insurance and identifies certain regulatory issues.

Free Look Cancellations of Health Insurance Policies
India | 04 August 2009

Free look periods are applicable to health insurance policies and other policies issued by life insurers that have a deferred coverage of risk. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority recently issued a circular which mandates that health insurance policies must also provide a free look period and directs life insurers not to deduct a proportionate risk premium in cases where the policy is cancelled during this period.

Proposed Bancassurance Reforms
India | 28 July 2009

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority recently set up a committee to examine the scope, content and objective of a new set of regulations for the bancassurance model. The committee has been set up in response to requests from insurers to relax the requirement that a bank can enter into a bancassurance arrangement with only one life or one general insurer or one life and one general insurer.

Standardization of ULIP Charges: Proposed Reforms
India | 21 July 2009

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has taken recent steps towards standardizing the various charges applicable to unit-linked insurance policies (ULIPs). This update focuses on the authority's establishment of a panel of actuaries and the recommendations made by this panel for standardizing and reducing the number of charges on ULIPs.

Partial De-tariffication: Greater Flexibility for Insurers
India | 14 April 2009

The progress of the insurance market's movement away from the tariff-based regime has been somewhat halted. However, at the beginning of 2009 a measure of flexibility for insurers was introduced. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has permitted an amendment to certain Tariff Advisory Committee-mandated forms for the fire, engineering, motor (own-damage) and industrial all risks sections of policies.

New Regulations for Insurers Establishing Liaison Offices Abroad
India | 07 April 2009

Based on market feedback and experience, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority recently issued revised guidelines concerning the establishment of overseas liaison offices by Indian insurers. Although it is still early days, the imposed restrictions have already begun to draw questions as to why Indian insurers are not allowed greater flexibility.

Insurance of Terrorism Risks in the Indian Market
India | 31 March 2009

Indian insurers have reported a marked increase in the demand for terrorism cover in the 2009 renewal season. The demand is naturally being linked to concerns following the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. The insurance of terrorism risks in the Indian market is undertaken through a pool system. One of the aims of the Market Terrorism Pool is to maximize the retention of insurance business within India.

Uncertainty Over What Constitutes Non-disclosure and Misrepresentation
India | 25 November 2008

According to the Marine Insurance Act 1963 and Supreme Court precedents, insurance contracts are contracts of the utmost good faith, which require the full and proper disclosure of all material facts so that insurers can properly assess whether to accept the risk offered to them. However, recent judicial decisions reveal a divergence from these statutory principles.

IRDA Relaxes Mandated Wordings for Fire, Engineering and Motor Insurance
India | 18 November 2008

Between 60% and 70% of the general insurance market was previously required to sell certain policies on prescribed terms and rates. The IRDA announced in December 2006 that rates would be freed, but subsequently decided that free wordings will not be allowed. However, it has announced relaxations in the mandated wordings for fire, engineering and motor insurance, effective from January 2009.

Co-insurance Agreement Is Brought Up to Date
India | 12 August 2008

The Indian General Insurance Council (GIC) was set up to represent the collective interests of general insurers operating in India. The GIC’s activities are overseen by an executive committee that comprises the chief executives of all Indian general insurers and members of the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority.

The Changing Health Insurance Market
India | 13 May 2008

Even though the Indian health insurance market grew by 38% in 2006 to 2007, only 1.08% of India’s billion-plus population has medical insurance. The general perception is that prospects for growth in this sector of the insurance market are good.

Date for Detariffication of Policy Wordings Pushed Back
India | 06 May 2008

The Indian general insurance market is in the midst of a transition from a tariff-based regime to a more market-driven system. The Tariff Advisory Committee mandated that policy wordings (ie, insurance terms, conditions, clauses and warranties) be used until March 31 2008. However, the insurance market regulator has announced that it is pushing this date back.

Detariffication Continued: Minimum Standard Wordings
India | 11 December 2007

The General Insurance Council (GIC) has published its proposed minimum standard wordings for fire, engineering and motor risks. Although the wordings are lengthy and currently under review by sections of the market, and although the GIC has said that they are not intended to restrict insurers from creating their own wordings, fundamental questions have been raised about the GIC’s stated objectives.

Unit-Linked Insurance Product Guidelines
India | 09 October 2007

The Indian insurance industry regulator (IRDA) has continued to issue guidance with respect to unit-linked insurance products. India operates a 'file and use' procedure for all life insurance products, meaning products must be submitted to the IRDA before they can be sold to the general public. However, the public's growing interest in buying the products has resulted in increased regulatory intervention.

IRDA Guidelines on Money Laundering
India | 02 October 2007

The Anti-money Laundering Guidelines issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in order to implement the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 have been the subject of heated debate within the industry. Following representations by insurers, certain of the guidelines have already been amended and negotiations are likely to continue.

Interest on Claim Payments in the Indian System
India | 18 September 2007

In India, insurers face significant interest payments both when (i) defending disputed claims, and (ii) delaying claim payments in non-litigious claims. With too many cases and too few judges, cases can easily take eight years to be finally resolved. Interest is used as a means of compensating a successful litigant for the delays inherent in the system.

Principles of Fairness Can Override Policy Wording
India | 29 May 2007

Various decisions of the Supreme Court of India have confirmed that state-owned insurers must be regarded as instruments of the state and that their actions must be guided by the public interest. Therefore, such insurers must act reasonably and fairly under Article 14 of the Constitution to the extent that, where necessary, principles of fairness may override strict policy wording.

The Role of the Loss Adjuster
India | 27 February 2007

Under the Insurance Act 1938, no insurer may pay a general insurance claim unless a loss adjuster has submitted a report on the loss at issue. However, the report is not binding on the insurer, and the insurer retains the right to pay the claimant a different amount from that contained in the report.

Removal of Tariffs: One Month On
India | 13 February 2007

The liberalization of tariffs for rates for all tariff business began on January 1 2007. As expected, third-party motor insurance has been the most problematic area since the tariff removal began. In order to deal with these concerns, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has established a pool for third-party motor insurance risks.

Insurers Begin to Explore the Global Market
India | 06 February 2007

The liberalization of the Indian economy has led the insurance industry to investigate the extent to which it may be able to handle the insurance requirements of the 25 million persons of Indian origin living outside India. At present, Indian insurers may open only a representative office overseas, which is subject to strict requirements.

New Guidelines for Conduct of Insurance and Reinsurance Business
India | 14 November 2006

New guidelines for the conduct of insurance and reinsurance business came into force on October 1 2006. Among other requirements, the guidelines prevent a chosen broker from subcontracting a risk to another broker and oblige an Indian broker to co-broker reinsurance with a foreign broker only where that broker complies with Indian guidelines.

New Guidelines Signal the End of Tariffs
India | 31 October 2006

The opening up of the insurance market to private competition at the start of this century was the first step taken by the government to bring the insurance market up to date. Now the proposed removal of tariffs from general insurance business looks likely to be the second step. At present, the majority of Indian insurance business is written on tariff terms.