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Insurance firms to tap market?

business Updated: May 24, 2010 23:38 IST
Mahua Venkatesh

The much-awaited guidelines comprising listing norms for life insurance companies is likely to be ready in the next few weeks, with several insurers such as ICICI Prudential and HDFC Standard completing 10 years of operation. However, companies, which have not completed 10 years, would also be allowed to launch their initial public offerings.

At present, life insurance companies are not allowed to raise funds through the market.

“It is in the final stages and the guidelines would be put up soon,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified, told Hindustan Times.

At present, the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit for the sector is capped at 26 per cent. The Insurance Amendment Bill, which seeks to raise it to 49 per cent is pending before Parliament, and it may not be taken up on a priority basis, sources said.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has already come up with both valuation and disclosure norms comprising solvency levels and claim settlement on a half-yearly basis. The Institute of Actuaries of India had also looked into the issue.

Earlier, a few life insurance companies has sought the necessary approvals from the government and the regulator for tapping the capital market.

“Life insurance business is capital-intensive and we hope the listing guidelines are issued at the earliest as the FDI limit has also remained at 26 per cent,” a senior executive of a Delhi-based life insurance firm.