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IRDAI must be allowed to regulate hospitals as well, says IRDAI member

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New Delhi | December 7, 2021 2:49:01 AM IST
A Member (Non-Life) of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) believes that either there must be a separate regulator for the healthcare segment or that the IRDAI must be allowed to regulate hospitals.

Addressing the 23rd CII Insurance and Pensions Summit on Monday, TL Alamelu said, "We wish that there is a regulator or we are allowed to regulate hospitals."

The regulator also suggested that they are attentive towards the increasing price of insurance premiums.

"Have an eye on how insurers increase their premiums," Alamelu added.

She also mentioned 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."

Chairman of PFRDA, Bandyopadhyay suggested that the country is not future-ready in terms of penetration of pension schemes. The chief of the pension regulation in India advised that financial literacy and especially pension literacy could be helpful in making India ready for the future.

"We are still not future-ready, and I believe a lot of financial literacy and pension literacy has to go into it," Bandyopadhyay suggested.

He also said that "IRDAI and PFRDA can come together and we can create a forum through which, if CII agrees, we can work together - all three of us to create awareness in a big way."

Highlighting the risks faced by the Insurance sector, Suresh Mathur, Executive Director IRDAI said that "Cybersecurity is constantly being rated as one of the top threats to business today."

"Data protection is an area that will require closer examination by all the stakeholders as the volume of personal data handled by the insurers increased," he added.

Randip Singh Jagpal, Chief General Manager of IRDAI was optimistic about where the Insurance industry is and said that "the spread of insurance penetration has made its way to the village level through the CSEs or other post offices."

Jagpal also added that "people are more aware as to how to meet their security needs, they look upon insurance in meeting their protection needs."

He also mentioned that the "insurance products are being structured in a very simplified manner so there is a lot of focus on having simple products which are easy to identify and easy to explain to the customer."

Further, Saurabh Mishra, Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services highlighted the importance of Government of India schemes in bridging the socio-economic divide.

"The initiatives like the Jeevan Jyoti, Suraksha Bima Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana and the Ayushman Bharat scheme have been kind of stand-out initiatives that aim to provide a social security net to insurance and pension schemes. These initiatives have certainly helped address the socio-economic needs of the poor, the underserved, the underprivileged by providing financial security of some sort," Mishra said.

He also highlighted that the insurance industry should "focus on steadily shifting towards increasing the access of low-cost simple insurance products including those that can be sold through all channels."

"The other idea that necessitates regulatory scrutiny is that the application of technology in Insurance must be really assessed," he added.

Earlier at the opening session of the Insurance and Pensions Summit, Tapan Singhel, the Chairman of the CII National Committee on Insurance and Pensions mentioned that the "industry has to keep forging ahead in terms of creating massive distribution and creating new ways of distribution - be it on e-commerce platforms or on social media platforms."

"The industry has to work very closely with the Government in terms of providing the need for social security going forward," Singhel added.

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."

Extending the topic further, Krishnan Ramachandra, Co-Chair, CII National Committee on Insurance and Pensions said 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." (ANI)

 
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