New Delhi: Insurance Regulator and Development Authority (IRDA) on Friday said it is likely to finalise mergers and acquisitions (M&A) guidelines for the insurance companies in the next two months.
“It (guidelines) would be out soon. It is most likely to be finalised in the next couple of months,” IRDA Chairman J Hari Narayan told reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by FICCI here.
At present, there are no specific guidelines for M&A in insurance sector in the country. The new norms would encourage consolidation in the insurance sector.
As on date there are 22 life insurance firms and 21 non- life insurance companies operating in the country.
Asked if the regulator has taken any decision with regard to capping charges on ULIPs, Narayan said “we have not taken any view we are examining it. We are examining the possibility.”
It would be in the best interest of the policy holders to fix a cap on ULIPs, he said, adding, it will take some time as the work is in progress.
On the growth of general insurance, the IRDA Chairman said, the non-life industry during 2008-09 recorded total health insurance premium of Rs6,625 crore, which is 30% improvement over the previous year, and more than twice the level seen just two years ago.
By the end of 2008-09, health insurance premium has thus grown over ten-fold from the level seen in 2001-02, Narayan said.
From being largely a single product market marketed by four non-life insurers, today more than 300 health insurance products are offered by over 30 insurance companies, both general and life, he added.
There are also innovations to target specific segments of the insured population, he said, adding, “for example, we now have six specific policies for senior citizens and over 30 recent health insurance products which allow entry up to 65 years of age.”
However, he said, the growth in numbers is also fraught with numerous challenges of ensuring accessibility, affordability and efficiency in the health insurance system of the country, which requires sustained and focused efforts on the part of all stakeholders in the health insurance eco- system.