Indian insurance industry needs huge capital infusion of over Rs.50,000 crore ($8 billion) and foreign direct investment (FDI) can make things easy, its regulator said Friday.
Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) chairman T.S. Vijayan said the regulator welcomes any type of capital infusion.
"If foreign capital is increased, it will be easier flow of capital than all put together by Indians. We are not saying FDI has to come. Capital is required and Indians may not have that much ability to put all the capital," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
He said since the bill for 49 percent FDI in insurance sector is in parliament, there will be some action only after it is passed.
The Insurance Laws (Amendments) Bill, 2008, which seeks to raise the FDI limit in the sector to 49 percent from the present 26 percent, was referred to a select committee of parliament last month.
Vijayan said they would submit various suggestions to the select committee to modernise the bill. Pointing out that the bill was envisaged in 2006, Vijayan said many changes had taken place since then, including the new developments in technology.
He said non-life and health insurances was not there in 2006 and this required separate provisions. Repositories and e-commerce are the other new developments which need to be incorporated in the bill.
Vijayan said IRDA had licensed five repositories and asked all companies to digitise 5,000 policies each under the pilot project. "By end of this month, the initial pilot will be over. We will review the whole thing after and try to solve the problems, if any."
He pointed out that IRDA has approved customer service centres to sell standardised basic policies which some companies have recently developed. He said the policy has same features but are being marketed by the companies in different names.
Earlier addressing a conference on 'digitisation and enhanced foreign direct investment', organised by Assocham, he stressed the need for the industry to develop products that are suitable to be sold online.
He called for developing products which are affordable to majority of the population. He said digitisation offer an opportunity to companies to cut down their costs and pass on the benefits to consumers.