The Ministry of Finance has finally completed the interviews for the post of two managing directors of Life Insurance Corporation and three top posts of public sector general insurance companies — United India Insurance, Oriental Insurance and Agriculture Insurance Company.
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The four public sector insurers have been functioning without a full-time chairman for the last several months.
The finance ministry had gone ahead with the interviews for the two managing director posts before announcing the results of the interviews for selecting chairman and one managing director post of Life Insurance Corporation which was conducted earlier.
Earlier, the finance ministry had conducted a similar exercise for the chairmanship and one MD post of LIC, the largest financial institution in the country with assets of around Rs 20 lakh crore, but it’s yet to announce the names. In September, LIC managing director V K Sharma, who is the top contender for the chairman’s post, took additional
charge as chairman, replacing S K Roy who was relieved of his duties. Roy resigned in June, nearly two years ahead of his retirement. In the second round of interview for selecting the two MDs, only Hemant Bhargava, Zonal Chief, North India was not called and thus giving rise to speculation that he has been selected from the first round of interview.
However, for the second round of interviews recently, the ministry changed the members of the panel which conducted the interviews for selecting the chairman and one MD. A former LIC official — now with a private sector company — who was in the panel for the first round of interview, was dropped from the panel that conducted the second round of interview.
He was apparently dropped as his company had business relationship with the LIC and competes with other reinsurance major including GIC Re to bag reinsurance deals from the life reinsurance behemoth, raising the issue of conflict of interest. “The presence of three private sector officials who were earlier with PSU insurance companies in the selection committee is surprising,” said an insurance source.
The members of the selection panel included IRDAI chairman TS Vijayan, DFS secretary Anjuli Chibb Duggal, DoPT Secretary BP Sharma, Bhargava, an actuary who was with LIC, former IRDAI Member Mathew Varghese and former LIC chairman GN Bajpai.
After PJ Joseph left Agriculture Insurance Company and joined insurance regulator IRDA as Whole-time Director (life) in March this year, RN Dubey, Economic Advisor, Department of Financial Services, was holding charge as Chairman of the agri insurance company. United India Insurance is also headless after its chairman Milind Kharat retired in May. AK Saxena of Oriental Insurance retired in June.