A host of serving and former insurance sector CEOs and bureaucrats are in the race for the post of the chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). The post will fall vacant on February 21 when present chairman TS Vijayan completes his term.
Among the insurers who have applied for the post are: VK Sharma, chairman, Life Insurance Corporation, G Srinivasan, CMD, New India Assurance. The other applicants include: K Sanath Kumar, CMD, National Insurance, Hemant Bhargava, MD, LIC, Sunita Sharma, MD, LIC, B Venugopal, MD, LIC and Rajesh Kandwal, CEO & MD, LIC, Bahrain. Nilesh Sathe, Member (life), IRDAI is also in the fray. Sources said several serving and retired bureaucrats including Anjuly Chib Duggal, former secretary, Department of Financial Services and former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das are also strong contenders.
A notification issued by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, stipulates that an applicant should have at least 30 years of work experience, and he/she should have worked as secretary to the government of India or an equivalent position either at a Central or State level.
However, the ministry had amended the initial notification so that the CMDs of public sector insurers and MDs of LIC who are in the rank of additional secretary could apply. The post is also open to experts from the private sector.
Except Vijayan, all the chairmen of the IRDAI since 2000 have been retired bureaucrats. Vijayan was appointed in 2013 as the then finance minister P Chidambaram had strongly recommended an insurance professional over bureaucrats. This is the first time that the appointment will be done by the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee.
Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha heads the committee while additional principal secretary to the Prime Minister PK Mishra, Department of Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar and Department of Personnel and Training Secretary Ajay Mittal along with Bimal N Patel of the Gujarat National Law University are other members of the panel.
According to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999, the chairperson of the authority will hold office for five years, and is entitled to a consolidated salary of Rs 4.5 lakh per month without housing and car facilities. The last date for applying for the post was December 27 and finance ministry sources said the interview for the post may happen during the third week of January.
Earlier in November, the committee had interviewed candidates to select two Members (life and finance) of the IRDAI.