Insurance firms might find draft bancassurance guidelines difficult

January 3rd, 2012 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 3 (IANS) The draft guidelines on bancassurance by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) may turn out to be difficult for a few insurance companies in the country, an official said Tuesday.

“There have been lots of debate and dialogue on this but if IRDA has said this is the way to go, it will happen.” Yateesh Srivastava, chief marketing officer, Aegon Religare Life Insurance, told reporters here.

The IRDA’s draft guidelines on bancassurance have split insurance companies into four categories: life, non-life, health, and specialised insurers.

Srivastava hinted that this may lead to some difficulties, especially during switch in funds as the policy holders will be unsure about who will service them.

The IRDA came out with a draft guidelines November 2011, for bancassurance, under which insurance companies will be allowed to partner with different banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) in different states for selling their products.

However, as per the draft norms, banks and NBFCs will not be allowed to sell products of competing insurers in a particular state.

On bancassurance deals, Srivastava said: “I don’t think any bank will go through the stringent process to talking to life insurers, until there is parity on that landscape. So for the next six-eight months, we are unlikely to see many bancassurance deals building up and which is only likely to happen once there is clarity on this.”

Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance chief operating officer Pawan Verma said, “The guidelines have its pros and cons and we have given our views to the IRDA on the subject. We are open to challenges.”

Around 99 percent of the business generated by the company comes through the bancassurance route.

IRDA has divided the country into three zones, comprising 39 territories. Zone A has 13 territories, zone B has 9 territories and zone C has 17 territories. There are limits to how many tie-ups a bank can have within a particular zone.

Both Srivastava and Verma were in Kolkata on the occasion of launching their new products–Aegon Religare’s education plan and Star Union Dai-ichi’s tax saving endowment plan.

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