IRDA may allow banks to sell products of two insurers

As per the current practice, a bank is allowed to sell products of one each in a life insurance company, a general and a health insurance firm

Sector regulator IRDA has said today that it is considering a proposal to allow banks to sell products of two insurance companies each in life and non-life categories, a move that will help increase penetration. As per the current practice, a bank is allowed to sell products of one each in a life insurance company, a general and a health insurance firm.

"The committee (set up by the regulator) has recommended that banks should be allowed to tie up with two insurers. We are in the process of examining the recommendation," IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar.

He was here at the launch of the IGMS (Integrated Grievance Management System), which is an online grievance portal for customers. The Insurance Regulatory and Development authority (IRDA) had in 2007 set up a committee to suggest ways to increase insurance penetration.

The regulator is looking to open up the distribution channel to help increase penetration of insurance products amidst the long-pending demand of insurers for relaxing the bank distribution channel.

To study the 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 a 60-page report in 2009, suggested various measures for increasing distribution.

During the 2010-11 fiscal, the new business premium (first year premium) of the life insurance industry grew by 14.5% to Rs1,25,800 crore.

Besides, the total premium of the 23 player life insurance industry increased by 8% as compared to Rs2,86,500 crore in 2010-11.

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COMMENTS

Melvin Joseph

5 years ago

It is a welcome move by the regulator permitting banks to go for multiple tie ups for distribution. This can really help in increasing the insurance penetration. But certain areas requires attention and to be addressed.
Now a days, the most populart word in insurance sector is 'Misselling'! If an agent is selling a policy by giving false commitments or if somebody is selling a policy without explaining the full details of the policy, it is called misselling. This has become more and more in the ULIPs, where the agents were selling the policies without explaining various charges (and huge in most of the cases) to the customer. There were cases, where customers - without knowing what is equity is - investing in ULIPs because of smart sales man.
While agnts are doing this in retail,banks are doing this in whole sale. Some banks made a condition of buying a policy, if they want any loan! Several relationship manages of banks, mainly remunerated by way of the revenue, they generate were forced to sell policies with high commission.
The regulator should put some control mechanism in this area before allowing multiple tie ups.Otherwise, it will the bank customers, who will be loosing their hard earned money.

RIL to become debt-free this year: Chairman

Addressing the company's shareholders at its 37th AGM, chairman Mukesh Ambani said that RIL's revenue has grown by 28% on year-on-year basis over the past 33 years since its IPO, while profit and market capitalisation have grown by 33% on an average every year during this period

Mumbai: Announcing a bullish stance on the company's financial position, Reliance Industries' (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani today announced that the company would become debt-free on a net basis in the current financial year, reports PTI.

RIL had outstanding debt of Rs67,397 crore ($15.1 billion) as of 31 March 2011, as against Rs62,495 crore ($13.9 billion) a year ago.

At the same time, RIL had cash and cash-equivalents of Rs42,393 crore ($9.5 billion) as on 31st March this year, which was nearly double the level seen a year ago.

These were mainly in fixed deposits, certificate of deposits with banks, mutual funds and government securities/ bonds.

Addressing the company's shareholders at its 37th AGM here, Mr Ambani said that RIL's enterprise value stood at about $75 billion.

He said that RIL's revenue has grown by 28% on year-on-year basis over the past 33 years since its IPO, while profit and market capitalisation have grown by 33% on an average every year during this period.

Chairman Mukesh Ambani also added that Reliance Retail will soon launch cash-and-carry format stores for wholesale business, while its consumer-focused business will become market leader across all formats in the next two years.

Asserting that Reliance Retail has already become largest food retailer in the country, Mr Ambani said that all the specialty formats of the company would attain top positions in their respective segments in next two years.

Mr Ambani also said that Reliance Retail has already got the largest portfolio in terms of number of formats and 25 lakh customers were shopping at the company's various stores every week.

He said that further growth was expected in the retail business on the back of future investments and Reliance Retail was currently at an inflection point.

The company's stock was trading at Rs945.40 apiece in afternoon trade, down 0.68% from its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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PFRDA to retain 50% cap on equity investments in new pension policy

PFRDA chairman Yogesh Agarwal said that if SEBI liked to see more investments in equities, then PFRDA would also like to see the investments, but after ensuring proper risk management

Mumbai: Pension regulator, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), on Thursday said that it would like to maintain the 50% limit on investment in equities for the new pension fund, regardless of the recommendation of the Bajpai committee, reports PTI.

“We think that at the current stage of pension market in the country, investing more than 50% in equities is not going to be fair to investors in terms of the risk that has to be taken, and therefore, we tend to retain the cap at 50%,” PFRDA chairman, Yogesh Agarwal, told reporters on the sidelines of the 26th Skoch Summit here.

The Bajpai Committee, headed by former Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chairman, GN Bajpai, has been entrusted with the task of analysing the fee structure and suggesting changes to the National Pension System (NPS).

Initially, the government launched the NPS for central government employees for those joining service from 1 January 2004, but it was extended to all citizens from 1 May 2009.

Currently, seven pension fund managers are managing assets of about Rs9,000 crore. Of this, about Rs100 crore is contributed by pension schemes for persons other than government employees.

These fund managers include LIC Pension Fund, SBI Pension Funds, UTI Retirement Solutions, IDFC Pension Fund Management, ICICI Prudential Pension Funds Management, Kotak Mahindra Pension Fund and Reliance Capital Pension Fund.

Even though the NPS is considered an immensely beneficial financial product for unorganised sector employees, especially those who don’t manage a steady source of income after retirement, it has received a lukewarm response till now.

To popularise the scheme, PFRDA, in September last year, introduced the Swavalamban scheme. Under this scheme, the government contributed Rs1,000 per year to each NPS account opened in the year 2010-11 and for the next three-years—2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14.

To be eligible, a person has to make a minimum contribution of Rs1,000 and maximum of Rs12,000 per annum.

Mr Agarwal said the Bajpai committee report is “finally being signed” and by the third week of this month, it will be available on the PFRDA website.

On the capital market regulator SEBI chairman’s views on allowing pension funds to be invested in equities, Mr Agarwal said that if SEBI liked to see more investments in equities, then PFRDA would also like to see the investments, but after ensuring proper risk management.

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