Money & Banking

‘Hospitals need regulator, IRDAI can take up the mantle’

Our Bureau | | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021
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Member’s comments follow calls for regulating rising health premiums amid the raging pandemic

Insurance regulator IRDAI wants hospitals to be regulated and is not averse to even doing it by itself if allowed by law, a top official said.

“We wish that there is a regulator or we are allowed to regulate hospitals," said T L Alamelu while virtually addressing the 23rd CII Insurance and Pensions Summit.

This stance comes on the heels of captains of the general insurance industry pitching for a separate regulator for hospitals. Recently Tapen Singhel, who is MD&CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company and Chairman of CII National Committee on Insurance and Pensions, had said that concerns over rising health insurance premiums during the pandemic could only be addressed by setting up a regulator for hospitals and a revision in GST rate from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.

Krishnan Ramachandran, Co-Chair, CII National Committee on Insurance and Pensions, said at the summit that "even with increasing penetration, etc. we will need to factor for general and medical inflation and given that medical inflation operates significantly higher than CPI, there will need to be a correction cycle from a pricing standpoint”.

Meanwhile, even as the insurance industry favours another round of premium increases, the regulator does not see merit in such an approach. Alamelu noted that IRDAI is keeping a close watch on how insurers handle the premium increase aspect.

Alamelu also said that "InsurTechs and FinTechs are both ways for the industry to move forward" and that the "regulator has allowed the industry to do digital policies and we have in the regulatory sandbox encouraged this marriage between the InsurTech and insurers."

Not future-ready

Pension regulator PFRDA Chairman Supratim Bandyopadhyay said that the country is not future-ready in the penetration of pension schemes. The chief of the pension regulation in India advised that financial literacy and especially pension literacy could help make India ready for the future.

"We are still not future-ready, and I believe lot of financial literacy and pension literacy has to go into it," Bandyopadhyay said in a separate session on pensions at the summit. He suggested that IRDAI and PFRDA can come together and create a forum through which, if CII agrees, “we can work together – all three of us to create awareness in a big way."

Talking about the issues of penetration of Insurance in the country, R M Vishakha, Co-Chair, CII National Committee on Insurance and Pensions, mentioned that "do not believe that we (India) are under penetrated in terms of a basic insurance, but what I think we are is that we are grossly underinsured."

Published on December 07, 2021

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