Home/ Money / Personal Finance/  Budget 2023: 'Would like govt to rationalise GST on insurance products'

The government can look at GST rationalization on insurance products making it more affordable and attractive, wherein a reduction on GST can lead to increasing the insurance net, thereby not impacting the government collections, said Abhay Tewari, Managing Director & CEO, Star Union Daiichi Life Insurance.

“The budget could moderate the Corporate tax structure and provide relief for Organizations," he told Mint's Rakshita Madan. He spoke about about Budget expectations and outlook for the insurance sector in the interview.

Edited excerpts:

Q. What are your expectations from the Budget 2023? This will be the last full Budget before elections?

India is currently the most sought-after market around the globe and there are many external eyes as well on India Budget 2023. For the last few years, our Union Budget has always brought in avenues for growth and our expectation is no different for 2023. We want this to be a growth & development focused budget. Some thoughts that come to mind are:

- This needs to be a Sustainable growth-oriented Budget. The Revenue and Expenditure mix should be diverted to Capex investments for employment generation through a multiplier effect

Read all budget-related stories here

- The budget could moderate the Corporate tax structure and provide relief for Organizations

- There could be a simpler personal income tax methodology. There could be additional incentives for income tax assesses to slowly migrate towards new tax regime, as dual tax methodology maintenance could be cumbersome and lead to errors.

Q. What are your suggestions for FM for the Budget from the insurance sector?.

Our FM has always been a pro-industry person and some thoughts which I would want to share are:

- The government is vying for an ‘Insurance for all by 2047’ theme. Keeping the overall economic well-being of people as the salient element, the below points could be considered so that the contribution of Insurance to the GDP can increase along with an improved insurance density.

- The government could look at offering deferred liability long-term bonds, which can help organizations to provide better returns on a longer-term horizon

- Currently there is a practice of FRA’s, I suggest the government could look at issuing partly-paid bonds in which the insurance companies can participate, thereby getting an advantage of the 1% warehousing charges (being currently charged), and the benefits can be passed on to policyholders

- The government can look at GST rationalization on insurance products making it more affordable and attractive, wherein a reduction on GST can lead to increasing the Insurance net, thereby not impacting the Govt collections.

- The Govt can look at easing the working capital requirements for Insurance companies and also focus upon reducing the 3% RSM requirements for certain Group products and make it 1%, so that Insurance companies can afford to provide coverage to smaller companies/corporates

- Modifying the Solvency requirement from current 1.5 to 1.25, so that the released capital can aide Companies to offer better return on their products

Q. What is your outlook for the insurance sector?.

The sector is poised to grow and possibly outgrow/drive the nation's growth owing to the awareness and importance of insurance, which has been generated purely by the government and regulator. I foresee a strong consolidation at the bottom of the pyramid with strong M&A activities between large and very small players to average out the competition. The proposed distribution architecture proposed by the regulator, BIMA Sugam, will be a game changer in Insurance buying behaviour of the consumer. With the recent modifications proposed in the Insurance Law and Regulation, an Insurance Company could very well be a ‘One Stop shop’ for Protection, Retirement and Well-being needs of an Individual/Corporate.

Q. You have been recently selected as India’s Greatest Workplace - 2022-23. What makes you so employee friendly?.

The award belongs to the Employees who have kept the flag up even in trying circumstances that the world is plagued with. SUD Life has adopted a 4-pillar model for valuing its Employees - Grow, Protect, Belong and Be Well. This approach has inclusiveness and sensitiveness weaved across the entire fabric of our Organizational ethos. We have been growing at a steady pace, faster than the industry, and this is a clear reflection of our employee strength and commitment.

Disclaimer: The views and recommendations made above are those of individual analysts or broking companies, and not of Mint.

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Updated: 15 Jan 2023, 11:09 AM IST
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