For the first time in five years, the insurance regulator approved registration of Kshema General Insurance as part of measures to improve ease of doing business, increase competitiveness, spur investments and attract newer players. IRDAI, in its board meeting, also cleared non-life insurer Go Digit’s IPO and approved the Exide Life-HDFC Life merger. In September, Sebi had said that it has kept Go Digit’s IPO in abeyance for observations.
There are 19 more registration applications in the pipeline at different stages of approval, including one for Credit Access. “We have completely streamlined the procedure for approvals and expect that within 60 days or two board meetings we will be in a position to approve applications subject to the condition that the other side is ready,” said IRDAI chairman Debasish Panda.
As part of reforms, corporate agents (which include banks) can now partner nine insurers as against three earlier, while insurance marketing firms can distribute for six insurers, up from the earlier two. Private equity (PE) funds can invest in insurance companies, and promoters can dilute stake to 26% (from 50% earlier). The lock-in period for investors and promoters is now linked to the company’s maturity, with only one-year lock-in for a matured insurer. Also, no prior nod is needed for issuing subordinate debt and preference shares.