'Funds managed by insurers to touch Rs 30 lakh crore in 5 years'

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Outgoing insurance regulator J. Hari Narayan
Outgoing insurance regulator J. Hari Narayan

The size of funds managed by insurers in the country is expected to reach a whopping Rs 30 lakh crore in the next five years, marking a 70 per cent jump from the current level, outgoing insurance regulator J. Hari Narayan said today.

“When the insurance industry was opened up in 2000, the total controlled funds were about Rs 1 lakh crore. It was Rs 8 lakh crore in 2008 and it is Rs 18 lakh crore now. That is how it grew. After five years, it will be about Rs 30 lakh crore,” Hari Narayan told PTI in an interview.

He said he is in favour of the Government hiking its foreign direct investment limit to 49 per cent in the insurance sector, leading to a substantial flow of funds into the capital-intensive sector.

It is estimated that the insurance sector would require at least Rs 30,000 crore in the next five years to double its size.

The Government is yet to announce the successor to Hari Narayan, whose five-year stint as IRDA chief comes to an end today.

Former LIC Chairman T. S. Vijayan’s name has been proposed for heading IRDA, but a formal announcement is awaited.

Under Hari Narayan, IRDA has taken several important steps, including guidelines for listing of life insurance companies on stock exchanges, doing away with third-party motor insurance pool and introducing portability of health insurance.

The Indian insurance industry needs to give “proper” insurance cover for natural disasters and strengthening of reinsurance, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) chief said.

He said the regulator has submitted an approach paper on insurance cover for natural disasters to the National Disaster Management Authority.

“There are several things which could be addressed adequately. One is to give proper insurance cover for natural disasters and catastrophes. It is recently that I could finish an approach paper which has been shared with the National Disaster Management Authority.

“So that has to be taken forward. That’s an important area. Secondly, a deeper strengthening of reinsurance products should take place. That’s another one which needs to be done,” Hari Narayan said.

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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