IRDAI removes first preference in reinsurance, wants insurers to retain maximum risks

New Delhi, Dec 12: Foreign reinsurance companies operating in India via branches will now be allowed to bid for reinsurance contracts, on par with General Insurance Corporation of India. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) in its Reinsurance Regulations released on December 12, said that every insurer will be free to obtain best terms for reinsurance protection of domestic risks.
Earlier, GIC Re was give the first right of refusal in reinsurance contracts. If it declined to accept the risk, only then it would be given to foreign reinsurer’s branches. IRDAI has now said Indian reinsurers as well as four FRBs will be given the right to compete on equal terms for the business.
Reinsurance refers to risk cover taken by insurance companies. They take this cover for protection against financial liabilities of large projects. In case there is a huge claim from an insured loss, the reinsurance cover provides financial assistance to insurance companies.
IRDAI said that reinsurance renewals will have to be done at the beginning of every financial year. No insurer will seek terms from any Indian insurer, not registered with the authority to transact reinsurance business.
IRDAI has said that every Indian insurer has to maintain the maximum possible retention in commensuration with its financial strength, quality of risks and volume of business. In life insurance, IRDAI has said insurers should retail at least 25 percent of sum assured under pure protection and 50 percent for other categories of products.
Seven global reinsurers operate in the Indian reinsurance market through their branches. These include Munich Re, Swiss Re, SCOR SE, Hannover Re, RGA Life Reinsurance Company of Canada, XL Insurance Company SE, Gen Re and AXA France Vie. Specialist insurance market Lloyd’s of London has an India branch as well.
Foreign reinsurers had earlier expressed concerns about not getting equal treatment and held discussions with the Finance Ministry on the matter.
The size of the reinsurance market in India is about Rs 45,000 crore and only a negligible portion of it is contributed by branches of foreign reinsurers.