IRDA may allow banks to sell products of multiple insurers

“The regulator is considering to open up distribution channel... The final call by IRDA will be taken soon,” Life Insurance Council Secretary General SB Mathur said

To increase insurance penetration, the regulator IRDA (Insurance Regulatory Development Authority) is contemplating allowing banks to sell products of more than one insurance firm.

“The regulator is considering to open up distribution channel... The final call by IRDA will be taken soon,” Life Insurance Council Secretary General SB Mathur said on the sidelines a conference of CEOs of insurance companies.

As per the current practice, a bank is allowed to sell products of a life insurance company, a general and a health insurance firm. There has been long pending demand from insurers for relaxing bank distribution channel.

To study distribution channels–agency, bancassurance, referrals, direct sales etc, the regulator had set up a 10-member committee, headed by former LIC chairman NM Govardhan in 2007. The committee which submitted 60-page report in 2009, suggested various measures for increasing distribution.

Mr Mathur also said the life insurers are expecting 15% rise in new business premium in the current fiscal. The new business premium grew 14.5% to Rs1,25,800 crore in 2010-11 from Rs1,09,894 crore in the previous year.

Despite an uncertain environment the total premium of life insurance industry increased by 8% compared to Rs2,86,500 crore in the previous fiscal, he said.

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Vijaya Bank launches V-Insta debit card

The V-Insta Debit card, valid for 10 years, provides customers an instant debit card on opening the account that can be used for cash withdrawals at any ATMs throughout the world

Bangalore-headquartered Vijaya Bank has launched a new variant of its debit card product called V-Insta Debit card. This is one of the variants of its alternate delivery channel products and issued in association with Visa International.

The bank’s CMD, HS Upendra Kamath, said: “The future days of banking will be green banking (paperless banking) using advanced safe and secure payment delivery channels wherein customer can transact at his convenience i.e. simple, smart and economical banking at their touch points.”

The bank’s executive director Shubhalakshmi Panse said V-Insta debit card would act as a one stop solution for cash withdrawals, purchase, travel, utility payments and shopping. The V-Insta Debit card, valid for 10 years, provides customers an instant debit card on opening the account that can be used for cash withdrawals at any ATMs throughout the world as well as merchant locations globally.

The daily limits for cash withdrawal is Rs30,000 and for merchant transaction Rs25,000. It would soon be enabled for usage online, the bank said.

With the new product, the bank aims to add an additional 10 lakh cards so as to reach a card base of 25 lakh in the current financial year.

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Inflation, slowing growth to impact revenue collection: Finance ministry

“Any roll-back of customs duty on crude oil or of excise duty on petroleum products on account of rising crude prices or on account of deregulation of diesel prices will significantly impact our indirect tax collection,” revenue secretary Sunil Mitra said

New Delhi: The government could miss the revenue collection targets during 2011-12 mainly on account of high inflation and moderating economic growth, reports PTI quoting a senior finance ministry official.

“Inflation can affect domestic demand and thereby adversely affect GDP growth... and consequently our tax collection,” revenue secretary Sunil Mitra said while speaking at the annual conference of chief commissioners and directors general of income tax.

Mr Mitra opposed any roll-back of customs or excise duty on petroleum products and said such an action could also impact indirect tax collection.

“Any roll-back of customs duty on crude oil or of excise duty on petroleum products on account of rising crude prices or on account of deregulation of diesel prices will significantly impact our indirect tax collection as well,” Mr Mitra said.

“Given these possibilities, I have serious apprehensions in respect of our tax revenue collection this year,” he added.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was also present during the event, concurred with Mr Mitra’s views.

“He (Mr Mitra) has raised the issue rightly... situation is not conducive,” he said.

Mr Mitra, in his speech, also said that while the last fiscal has been a good year for tax revenue collection, the same may not be true in 2011-12.

“I would like to sound a note of caution in respect of targets for direct tax that has been set for this year at Rs5.32 lakh crore,” Mr Mitra said.

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