Chairman of Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) T S Vijayan has called for an apt focus on making affordable insurance cover available to people in the low income groups.
“For IRDA, financial inclusion means making insurance available to lower income groups at an affordable cost,” he said at a day-long seminar on financial inclusion through insurance, organised by the National Insurance Academy (NIA) here on Saturday .
Vijayan said, “In order to build a strong system, we must focus on improving persistent communication tools, improving premium policy renewal options, fostering long term distribution partner relations, optimum use of technology for providing services apart from the using brick and mortar structures, ensuring all financial needs can be addressed at one place.”
He said, “The insurance penetration in India is 4.1 for life and 0.7 for non- life, which is very small for a country like India. We still have a long way to go.”
Arvind Kumar, joint secretary to the Ministry of Finance, suggested suggested re-looking at the policies made. He cited some of the major announcement of the Union Budget 2013 – 2014, including the provision for having insurance offices in all towns of India having population of 10,000 or more; group saving products, which are now being made available to homogenous non-employer-employee groups and to provide a common platform for settlement of insurance claims to bereaved families at the earliest.
Kumar also mentioned about the unequal penetration of insurance in India thus providing an opportunity to improve the same tremendously.
Over 200 delegates including senior executives from public, private sector insurance companies, leading banks, NGOs and others participated in the event. The broad theme for the seminar was ‘Millions to Cover- Reaching the Unreached through Insurance.’
Officiating director of NIA Achintan Bhattacharya said, “The academy decided to focus on inclusion through insurance in view of the Union finance minister’s budget speech that called for setting up public sector insurance offices in all towns of India which have a population of 10,000 or more.
Chairman of NIA governing board Thomas Mathew said, “Today low income groups can also contribute small amounts towards insurance. He went on to quote C.K. Prahlad, who said, “The future belongs to companies who treat the poor as their customers.