IRDA to frame new guidelines on ULIPs

The government has also constituted a high-level committee chaired by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, which will sort out all issues of jurisdiction regarding hybrid products

After winning the turf war with market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs), insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) today said it would frame new guidelines for these products to make them more attractive for policy holders, reports PTI.

"Certainly, yes," Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) chairman J Hari Narayan told PTI when asked whether the insurance regulator would unveil new guidelines for ULIPs to make them attractive for investors.

The government has ended the turf war between IRDA and SEBI, saying Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) will be regulated by IRDA.

On Friday night, president Pratibha Patil issued the Ordinance, explaining that the life insurance business shall include any unit-linked policy or scrips or any such instruments.

The government has also constituted a high-level committee chaired by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, which will sort out all issues of jurisdiction regarding hybrid products.

The committee on hybrid products will include the finance secretary, the financial services secretary and heads of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), IRDA, SEBI and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

SEBI in April took the market by surprise when it banned 14 life insurance firms from issuing fresh ULIP schemes.

However, IRDA asked the life insurers to ignore the SEBI order and the matter then went to the finance ministry, which advised them to move the court. In the meantime, the ministry had asked them to maintain the status quo.

ULIPs account for more than 50% of the life insurance business and the money collected from policy holders is invested in equities.

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COMMENTS

SUMITRA SWAIN

6 years ago

SAVE ULIP INDUSTRY & FOREIGN PLAYERS(L.I). LOOT POLICYHOLDERS POCKET.THIS IS THEME OF IRDA & F.M.

Dillip kumar swain

6 years ago

Actually sebi failed to provide protection to investors. ulip is never transparent like mutual funds. finance minister has no experience in buying ulip.he will also not qualify to buy.irda play the game by enhancing 10 times coverage of annual premium.mortality charges will eat the customers premium on rising trend every year.it is difficult to pay minimum return to policy holders by LI companies.So policyholders be cautious to buy ULIPS FROM L.I. COMPANIES.BUY TERM PLAN OR M.F.'S ULIP.

Markets may see fresh inflows as uncertainty over ULIPs ends

With the two-month long turf war between the two sectoral regulators over ULIPs coming to an end, stock markets are likely to see fresh money inflow in coming days

With the turf war between market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and insurance watchdog Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) over regulation of Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) coming to an end, stock markets are likely to see fresh money inflow in coming days, reports PTI.

"The end of uncertainty over the regulation of ULIPS is a big relief for investors. Life insurance firms will be able to issue new ULIPs and fresh money will come into the market," SMC Capitals equity head Jagannadham Thunuguntla said on Sunday.

Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) is a hybrid instrument that combines both insurance and investment. ULIPs account for more than 50% of the total life insurance business in the country.

"Many investors were worried over ULIPs and after the end of row between the two regulators (SEBI and IRDA), fresh money from insurance firms is likely to come into the markets," Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services research head Alex Mathews said.

On Saturday, the government ended a two-month long turf war between the two sectoral regulators, saying ULIPs will be regulated by IRDA. The government has issued an ordinance that clarified that life insurance business will include ULIPs or any such instruments.

President Pratibha Patil issued the ordinance late Friday evening amending the RBI Act, Insurance Act, SEBI Act and Securities Contracts Regulation Act.

Echoing the view, Bonanza Portfolio's vice president (equities) R L Narayanan said, "Insurance firms play a significant role in market and following the settlement over ULIPs, money supply will resume and insurers can come out with some new schemes."

ULIP, one of the most common insurance plans sold by life insurers, where the money collected from consumers is invested into equity and debt markets and returns are linked to the same, had become a bone of contention between the two regulators, with both claiming authority to regulate these schemes.

While SEBI saw ULIPs as investment products and hence asserted its right to regulate those products, IRDA treats them as insurance instruments.

In April this year, the market regulator took the market by surprise when it banned 14 life insurance firms from issuing fresh ULIP schemes.

Responding to the SEBI order, IRDA had asked all the 14 insurance firms to ignore the ban imposed by the market regulator and asked them to continue business as usual.

"Since the beginning of row, a number of life insurance firms virtually stopped the launch of new ULIPs and that in turn had blocked the movement of funds. The move is more important for those firms, which only sell ULIPs," a broker said.
 

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