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Thursday, May 16, 2002

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`Stringent checks on co-ops in insurance'

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THE process of the entry of new faces in the Indian insurance market in the form of co-operatives and brokers progressed further, with the Lok Sabha today passing the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2001. The Bill also seeks to allow the entry of corporate agents into the sector. Brushing aside apprehensions expressed by Opposition members, the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, said that there would be stringent checks on the co-operatives taking up insurance business.

Mr Sinha also assured the House that the intermediaries and brokers would not be allowed to operate as surrogate insurance agents and would not be permitted to collect premium or settle claims. He said that the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) would frame necessary regulations in this regard.

"We had many apprehensions when the insurance sector was opened up, but nothing has happened. Nothing will be allowed to happen. We will take care of the concerns expressed in the House,'' Mr Sinha said.

On the entry of co-operatives into insurance, Mr Sinha said that though recent events did suggest that there were some `black sheep' among the co-operative players, the presence of such wrongdoers should not taint the entire co-operative movement.

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