Insurance sector refroms in INDIA

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  • 1. What is INSURANCE? : Insurance is a form of contract or agreement under one party agrees in return of a consideration to pay an agreed amount of money to another party to make goods for a loss, damage, injury to something of value Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a potential loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium. Insurance rate is a factor used to determine the amount, called the premium, to be charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage Risk management, the practice of appraising and controlling risk, has evolved as a discrete field of study and practice. Evolution India : Evolution India 1818 - Oriental Life Insurance Company – 1st Insurance Company 1870 - Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society – 1st Life Insurance Company 1912 - The Indian Life Assurance Companies Act enacted the 1st Law to Regulate the Life Insurance Business 1928 - The Indian Insurance Companies Act enacted to enable the government to collect statistical information about both life & non-life insurance businesses 1938: Earlier legislation consolidated & amended the Insurance Act with the objective of protecting the interests of the insuring public 1956: 245 Indian & foreign insurers & provident societies are taken over by the central government & nationalized. LIC formed by an Act of Parliament, viz. LIC Act, 1956, with a capital contribution of Rs. 5 crore from the Government of India. The first General Insurance Company established in the year 1850 in Calcutta by the British.
  • 2. Insurance Sector Reforms : Insurance Sector Reforms In 1993, Malhotra Committee headed by former Finance Secretary & RBI Governor R.N. Malhotra. Objective - to create more efficient & competitive financial system. Key recommendations of the reform; 1 Structure: – a government stake 50% in insurance companies. 2 Competition: Private Companies with a minimum paid up capital of Rs.1bn should be allowed to enter the sector. No Company should deal in both life and general insurance through a single entity. Foreign companies may be allowed to enter the industry in collaboration with the domestic companies. Regulatory Body: The insurance act should be changed. An insurance regulatory body should be set up. Controller of insurance-a part of the Finance Ministry – should be made independent. Investments : Mandatory Investments of LIC Life Fund in government securities to be reduced from 75% to 50%. GIC and its subsidiaries are not to hold more than 5% in any company. Customer Service: LIC should pay interest on delay on payment beyond 30 days. Insurance companies must be encouraged to set up unit link pension plans.
  • 3. overview With largest number of life insurance policies in force in the world, Insurance happens to be a mega opportunity in India. It’s a business growing at the rate of 15-20 per cent annually and presently is of the order of Rs 450 billion. Together with banking services, it adds about 7 per cent to the country’s GDP. Gross premium collection is nearly 2 per cent of GDP and funds available with LIC for investments are 8 per cent of GDP. Yet, nearly 80 per cent of Indian population is without life insurance cover while health insurance and non-life insurance continues to be below international standards. And this part of the population is also subject to weak social security and pension systems with hardly any old age income security. This itself is an indicator that growth potential for the insurance sector is immense. A well-developed and evolved insurance sector is needed for economic development as it provides long term funds for infrastructure development and at the same time strengthens the risk taking ability. It is estimated that over the next ten years India would require investments of the order of one trillion US dollar. The Insurance sector, to some extent, can enable investments in infrastructure development to sustain economic growth of the country. Insurance is a federal subject in India. There are two legislations that govern the sector- The Insurance Act- 1938 and the IRDA Act- 1999. The insurance sector in India has come a full circle from being an open competitive market to nationalisation and back to a liberalised market again. Tracing the developments in the Indian insurance sector reveals the 360 degree turn witnessed over a period of almost two centuries.
  • 4. Historical Perspective The history of life insurance in India dates back to 1818 when it was conceived as a means to provide for English Widows. Interestingly in those days a higher premium was charged for Indian lives than the non-Indian lives as Indian lives were considered more riskier for coverage. The Bombay Mutual Life Insurance Society started its business in 1870. It was the first company to charge same premium for both Indian and non-Indian lives. The Oriental Assurance Company was established in 1880. The General insurance business in India, on the other hand, can trace its roots to the Triton (Tital) Insurance Company Limited, the first general insurance company established in the year 1850 in Calcutta by the British. Till the end of nineteenth century insurance business was almost entirely in the hands of overseas companies. Insurance regulation formally began in India with the passing of the Life Insurance Companies Act of 1912 and the provident fund Act of 1912. Several frauds during 20's and 30's sullied insurance business in India. By 1938 there were 176 insurance companies. The first comprehensive legislation was introduced with the Insurance Act of 1938 that provided strict State Control over insurance business. The insurance business grew at a faster pace after independence. Indian companies strengthened their hold on this business but despite the growth that was witnessed, insurance remained an urban phenomenon. The Government of India in 1956, brought together over 240 private life insurers and provident societies under one nationalised monopoly corporation and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) was born. Nationalisation was justified on the grounds that it would create much needed funds for rapid industrialization. This was in conformity with the Government's chosen path of State lead planning and development. The (non-life) insurance business continued to thrive with the private sector till 1972. Their operations were restricted to
  • 5. organised trade and industry in large cities. The general insurance industry was nationalised in 1972. With this, nearly 107 insurers were amalgamated and grouped into four companies- National Insurance Company, New India Assurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and United India Insurance Company. These were subsidiaries of the General Insurance Company (GIC). Important milestones in the life insurance business in India: 1912: The Indian Life Assurance Companies Act enacted as the first statute to regulate the life insurance business. 1928: The Indian Insurance Companies Act enacted to enable the government to collect statistical information about both life and non-life insurance businesses. 1938: Earlier legislation consolidated and amended to by the Insurance Act with the objective of protecting the interests of the insuring public. 1956: 245 Indian and foreign insurers and provident societies taken over by the central government and nationalised. LIC formed by an Act of Parliament- LIC Act 1956- with a capital contribution of Rs. 5 crore from the Government of India. Important milestones in the general insurance business in India are: 1907: The Indian Mercantile Insurance Ltd. set up- the first company to transact all classes of general insurance business. 1957: General Insurance Council, a wing of the Insurance Association of India, frames a code of conduct for ensuring fair conduct and sound business practices. 1968: The Insurance Act amended to regulate investments and set minimum solvency margins and the Tariff Advisory Committee set up. 1972: The general insurance business in India nationalised through The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act,
  • 6. 1972 with effect from 1st January 1973. 107 insurers amalgamated and grouped into four companies- the National Insurance Company Limited, the New India Assurance Company Limited, the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. and the United India Insurance Company Ltd. GIC incorporated as a company. Insurance Sector Reforms In 1993, Malhotra Committee- headed by former Finance Secretary and RBI Governor R.N. Malhotra- was formed to evaluate the Indian insurance industry and recommend its future direction.The Malhotra committee was set up with the objective of complementing the reforms initiated in the financial sector. The reforms were aimed at creating a more efficient and competitive financial system suitable for the requirements of the economy keeping in mind the structural changes currently underway and recognising that insurance is an important part of the overall financial system where it was necessary to address the need for similar reforms. In 1994, the committee submitted the report and some of the key recommendations included: i) Structure Government stake in the insurance Companies to be brought down to 50%. Government should take over the holdings of GIC and its subsidiaries so that these subsidiaries can act as independent corporations. All the insurance companies should be given greater freedom to operate. ii) Competition Private Companies with a minimum paid up capital of Rs.1bn should be allowed to enter the sector. No Company should deal in both Life and General Insurance through a single entity. Foreign companies may be allowed to enter the industry in collaboration with the domestic companies. Postal Life Insurance should be allowed to operate in the rural market. Only one State Level Life Insurance Company should be allowed to operate in each state.
  • 7. iii) Regulatory Body The Insurance Act should be changed. An Insurance Regulatory body should be set up. Controller of Insurance- a part of the Finance Ministry- should be made independent iv) Investments Mandatory Investments of LIC Life Fund in government securities to be reduced from 75% to 50%. GIC and its subsidiaries are not to hold more than 5% in any company (there current holdings to be brought down to this level over a period of time) v) Customer Service LIC should pay interest on delays in payments beyond 30 days. Insurance companies must be encouraged to set up unit linked pension plans. Computerisation of operations and updating of technology to be carried out in the insurance industry. The committee emphasised that in order to improve the customer services and increase the coverage of insurance policies, industry should be opened up to competition. But at the same time, the committee felt the need to exercise caution as any failure on the part of new players could ruin the public confidence in the industry. Hence, it was decided to allow competition in a limited way by stipulating the minimum capital requirement of Rs.100 crores. The committee felt the need to provide greater autonomy to insurance companies in order to improve their performance and enable them to act as independent companies with economic motives. For this purpose, it had proposed setting up an independent regulatory body- The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. Reforms in the Insurance sector were initiated with the passage of the IRDA Bill in Parliament in December 1999. The IRDA since its incorporation as a statutory body in April 2000 has fastidiously stuck to its schedule of framing regulations and registering the private sector insurance companies. Since being set up as an independent statutory body the IRDA has put in a framework of globally compatible regulations. The other
  • 8. decision taken simultaneously to provide the supporting systems to the insurance sector and in particular the life insurance companies was the launch of the IRDA online service for issue and renewal of licenses to agents. The approval of institutions for imparting training to agents has also ensured that the insurance companies would have a trained workforce of insurance agents in place to sell their products. Present Scenario The Government of India liberalised the insurance sector in March 2000 with the passage of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Bill, lifting all entry restrictions for private players and allowing foreign players to enter the market with some limits on direct foreign ownership. Under the current guidelines, there is a 26 percent equity cap for foreign partners in an insurance company. There is a proposal to increase this limit to 49 percent. The opening up of the sector is likely to lead to greater spread and deepening of insurance in India and this may also include restructuring and revitalizing of the public sector companies. In the private sector 12 life insurance and 8 general insurance companies have been registered. A host of private Insurance companies operating in both life and non-life segments have started selling their insurance policies since 2001.
  • 9. Insurance Sector Reform The government's policies since July 2004 have been to develop and reform the financial sector; regulate markets and upgrade their organizational and legislative structures, strengthen capital structures of financial institutions and protect investors' rights. The non-bank financial sector reform program consists of two phases; the first phase (2005-2008) and the second phase (2009-2012). The first phase aimed at building financial institutions, ensuring they are soundly structured and subjugated to strict supervision in order to enhance the financial sector's efficiency and ensure its stability and liquidity. As for the insurance sector, this phase aimed at restructuring the insurance companies by adopting a set of goals as follows: First: Restructuring State-held Insurance Companies. This goal was achieved by: • Establishing the Insurance Holding Company. • Merging public insurance companies. • Establishing Misr Real Estate Asset Management Company. • Injecting new bloods to achieve efficiency of management. Second: Strengthening Legislative Structure of the Insurance Sector. This goal was achieved by: • Implementing the approach of supervision on the basis of risk assessment and management and rules of financial adequacy of institutions operating in the market. • Supporting financial and administrative independence of the regulatory authority. • Enhancing the role of the Insurance Federation and making its membership obligatory for insurance companies and associations.
  • 10. • Achieving specialty of insurance activity by separating life insurance from property insurance. • Re-organizing the insurance brokerage profession, allowing legal entities to perform this activity and training brokerage staff. • Increasing minimum issued capital to LE 60 million for life insurance companies and LE 60 million for general insurance companies and adjusting existing companies' situations within five years. Third: Increasing the Sector's Contribution to Economic Activity: This goal was achieved by: • Reducing the cost of transactions and developing valuation and pricing mechanisms of insurance services. • Developing the accounting framework of insurance activity in line with international standards. • Developing rules and procedures regulating different insurance services. The second phase of the financial reform program (2009-2012) will adopt the following components to develop and reform the insurance sector: 1. Focus on insurance of SMEs and micro insurance in co-operation with expert institutions, benefiting from experiences of large companies and other countries including Singapore, S.Korea, Brazil and Malaysia. 2. New legislation to be developed in the insurance sector; including the issuance of private and optional pension funds law and medical care companies' law, finalizing a policyholders’ protection fund, while issuing legislation and standards necessary for performing micro insurance. 3. The General Authority for Financial Supervision, which started its mission in July 2009. It was established to enhance supervision of non-bank financial institutions, including insurance companies, develop regulatory coordination and increase efficiency. 4. Developing rules of supervision on insurance companies operating
  • 11. in the Egyptian market as well as insurance funds by adopting approaches of risk assessment and implementing regulatory procedures and standards accurately. 5. Implementing rules of increasing competition among existing institutions, to be ensured by the General Authority for Financial Supervision. 6. Enforcement of corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles; which focus on respecting human rights, ensuring workers' rights, preserving the environment and avoiding any suspected corruption in transactions. According to these principles, companies should undertake their duties towards the community in useful activities. Insurance companies contributed effectively in El Masry Community Service Organization, which was initiated to present a land plot in Been Al Sarayat to Cairo University. 7. Encourage financial innovation and development so that the insurance sector delivers its services using stable instruments, with definite cost and return, while subject to prudent supervision. 8. focus on the issuance of a code of ethics for the insurance industry, in cooperation with the Insurance Federation of Egypt and the General Authority for Financial Supervision. 9. Expanding insurance services nationwide by establishing branches of public and private insurance companies. New companies may not be approved unless they have plans for presence in Upper and Lower Egypt. 10. Enhance the regional presence of Egyptian insurance companies in Arab, Asian and Gulf countries. 11. Insurance companies to work on diversifying their investments in different and multi-risk and return instruments; including all types of bonds, shares, long term investments and deposits. 12. Continuous development of experience and human resources in the sector as well as new experiences for Egyptians working abroad.
  • 12. • • • • A developed insurance sector contributes in many ways to a well-rounded financial sector and economy: Risk protection. This can include loss or damage to assets ranging from properties (residential, commercial and industrial) to other assets (e.g. cars, trucks, machinery) and to cover potential liabilities arising from injuries, health, and loss of earnings. Financial stability. Insured assets add value and protection to, for example, the collateral taken by a bank, assets leased by a leasing company, investments made by a private equity/venture capital firm, investments of shareholders in listed companies. Against this, in financial conglomerates care also needs to be taken to ensure that badly run insurance subsidiaries can not, through contagion, affect the banking part of the group (this was one of the factors behind the Jamaican banking crisis in the 1980s). Poverty reduction. Better protection against risks to health, small savings and essential assets, may provide a buffer against financial disaster for a poor family. For example, in many parts of the world a serious illness, not covered by basic medical health insurance, can wipe out a life-time saving; climactic disasters can wipe out a herd or a crop with no course to recover. Without deposit insurance, savings in a collapsing bank may be lost. Growth and diversification of the financial sector. Insurance companies need to invest collected premiums in suitably prudent and relatively liquid
  • 13. securities. This imperative facilitates growth of capital markets. Life insurance companies frequently engage in managing pension fund schemes because they have the infrastructure to collect savings and to manage investment funds – an added impetus towards growth of capital markets, with the extra advantage of providing an alternative vehicle to banking for savings mobilisation.