The Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (Irda) has got an actuary after a gap of over three years. The government has appointed Pournima Gupte as member (actuary) of the insurance regulator, thus ending a major bottleneck for insurance companies in launching new schemes.
The post of member (actuary) had been lying vacant after R Kannan retired from Irda in 2011. Gupte, who was originally with Life Insurance Corporation, had worked as actuary at Reliance Life Insurance and IDBI Federal.
“The insurance sector has been suffering because of the non-appointment of an actuary. It led to problems in launching new schemes and growing our business,” said the CEO of an insurance company.
This is also for the first time that a woman has been appointed on the board of Irda. Market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is yet to get a women whole-time member on its board.
The life insurance sector has witnessed a tough time during the past four years and it was only last year (2013-14) that the industry’s growth turned positive because of LIC’s performance. The industry hopes that a full-time actuary member can make a lot of difference.
Meanwhile, the post of member (life) has been lying vacant since February 2014. Even though the previous government had completed the interview and shortlisted candidates, the new government hasn’t acted on them.
Irda will also see more vacancies at the member level in next few months. Member (non-life) M Ramaprasad is retiring in May while the term of member (finance) RK Nair is coming to an end in March 2015. Irda’s member (distribution) DD Singh, who is handling life portfolio, will also retire in July on reaching the age of 62.
It is possible that Nair gets an extension for another two years as the government usually advertises for such vacancies before six months but it hasn’t done anything for member (finance) so far.
A senior-level official of the industry will also be appointed in the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), which is now empowered to hear appeals against Irda.