IRDA asks SBI Life to distribute excess payments

IRDA directed SBI Life to identify the member or beneficiaries for each master policy and distribute the wrongful administrative charge by way of refund

New Delhi: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has directed SBI Life Insurance Company to distribute the 'wrongful' component of administrative charges it paid as reimbursement of group expenses to commission agents to the members or beneficiaries of the concerned policies, reports PTI.
As per the guidelines, life insurers are not allowed to pay towards management expenses, documentation expenses, profit commission, bulk discount or any other payment to the agent, corporate agent, group organiser or group manager.
SBI Life Insurance had made certain payments towards reimbursement of group administrative expenses to various master policy holders, which were in 'violation' of IRDA guidelines and for which it was imposed a penalty of Rs70 lakh in July 2011.
"For this purpose (distribution), recalculate the premium chargeable for each member of each group insurance scheme of the life insurer without taking into consideration 20% of premium that is paid to Master Policy Holders," Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) said in its directive.
"Distribute the wrongful administrative charge amongst the respective members/beneficiaries of each Master Policy by way of refund...," it added.
The schemes in question included 'Super Suraksha' policies on home, car and tractor loans.
The regulator said these payments to master policyholders were not in the interest of the general policyholders.
IRDA directed SBI Life to identify the member or beneficiaries for each master policy, against which reimbursement were made towards administrative expenses as a percentage of premium.
IRDA said the directives should be immediately initiated and be completed within six months.
SBI Life Insurance is a joint venture between State Bank of India and France's BNP Paribas Cardif. SBI owns 74% of the total capital, while the French insurer owns the rest.


Reliance Life seeks IRDA nod for two health insurance plans

Reliance Life has filed two health plans, one a reimbursement health plan and another one a simple fixed benefit plan and is awaiting approval from the insurance regulator

New Delhi: Private insurer Reliance Life has sought approval of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) for two new health plans and is aiming to launch them in current quarter, reports PTI.
"We have filed two health plans with the regulator. One is a reimbursement health plan and another one is a simple fixed benefit plan. We are awaiting approval from the regulator," Reliance Life Insurance President and Executive Director Malay Ghosh told PTI.
"Once it is approved by IRDA, we will take two to three weeks to introduce the health plans in the market," he added.
Currently, Reliance Life Insurance has a lone pure reimbursement health insurance plan - 'Reliance Life Care for You Plan'- for individuals and family members.
Ghosh said these two health plans will strengthen the company's existing health insurance basket. "Besides, this will help us consolidate our position in the health insurance space among life insurance players."
Reliance Life Insurance had forayed into the pure health insurance space in 2010.
"Our venture and journey into the health insurance sector is a natural extension of our life insurance business. We aim to help people meet their health care exigencies and expenses at every stage of life effectively on the back of a slew of health products," he said.
Last week, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had announced various measures for benefit of the life insurance sector with a view to benefit the insurance companies as well as the policyholders.
He also urged IRDA to consider 30-day norm for clearance of products. Such a move would help insurance companies launch their product faster.
Reliance Life is also seeking IRDA approval for a pension accumulation plan, which it is looking to launch in the next couple of months.
Several private insurance companies are mulling offering new pension schemes after IRDA revised pension product guidelines and removed the 4.5% return guarantee requirement.
Reliance Life Insurance would be among the first few to launch a fresh pension plan. With this new annuity product, Reliance Life is also planning to give capital


Inform investor on breaking shareholding norm, says SEBI

SEBI has asked stock exchanges to inform investors well in advance about any potential penal action against companies not complying with minimum public shareholding

Mumbai: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked stock exchanges to inform investors well in advance about any potential penal action against companies not complying with minimum public shareholding, the deadline for which expires next year, reports PTI.


At the same time, SEBI gave a respite to listed companies seeking to sell shares through follow-on public offers (FPOs), saying that the profitability criteria would not be applicable to them and even loss-making companies can launch FPOs.


The companies are required to have a three-year profit record for initial public offerings (IPOs), but there was a lack of clarity with regard to FPOs.


"It is clarified that listed companies coming out with FPOs need not meet the profitability criteria," SEBI said in a statement after its board meeting here. In its last board meeting in August, SEBI had reviewed the eligibility norms.


Regarding the minimum public shareholding norms, the market regulator asked the bourses to carefully monitor the adherence of the companies to the norms, which require a minimum public holding of 25% for private sector companies by June 2013 and 10% for PSUs by August 2013.


While SEBI has recently provided various options to the non-compliant companies to meet these deadlines, it has made it clear that there would no relaxation on the deadline front.


"Stock exchanges shall carefully monitor adherence and take steps to issue advisories to shareholders of non-compliant companies about potential penal actions, so that investors have adequate time to safeguard their interests," SEBI said in a statement after its board meeting here.


SEBI said it would "initiate a process with the market participants to elicit a concrete plan of action and resolve issues, if any" to ensure compliance with the minimum public shareholding related regulations.


The industry has been raising its concerns over the deadline set in late 2010, as the market conditions have been difficult in the recent past.


With a view to address the concerns of the industry, SEBI said, it has decided to clarify the computation of public shareholding in a listed company.


For the purpose of compliance with these norms, the public shareholding would be computed as "shares held by public" as a percentage of "total number of shares held by promoters, promoter group and public".


The equity capital issued outside India is neither included in the numerator nor in the denominator, SEBI said, referring to the companies that have issued securities like ADRs, GDRs or other instruments in overseas markets.


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