New Irdai chairman not a newcomer to insurance - Times of India

New Irdai chairman not a newcomer to insurance – Times of India


MUMBAI: Insurers are happy with the appointment of Debasish Panda as the chief of the industry’s regulatory authority as they feel that the former bureaucrat has a sound understanding of insurance.
Most of the past chairmen, barring TS Vijayan who came from LIC, were bureaucrats and had to undergo a steep learning curve upon taking charge. Panda, despite being a career bureaucrat, has a strong connect with the insurance industry and has been on the boards of two of the largest government companies – New India Assurance & Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) – and the regulator Irdai itself. He was actively involved in the divestment of IDBI, which was acquired by LIC, and subsequently the proposed initial public offering (IPO) of the insurance giant.
“In the department of financial services (DFS), he had shown empathy for the insurance companies and understood the issues faced by them,” said an official with a public sector insurance company. According to the chief of a private non-life company, the new Irdai chief had a consultative approach in government and did not issue diktats.
Panda, an IAS officer of the 1987 batch of UP cadre, was appointed as the sixth chairman of Irdai on Friday. According to insurers, the first and biggest challenge before Irdai will be the public sector non-life insurance companies and working with the government on a road map for them to get both their balance sheets and operational efficiency back on track. The second is the IPO by LIC.


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