Pranab wants companies to take the lead in creating national assets

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has announced that a framework for infrastructure financing was being worked out by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) and the Planning Commission.

Inaugurating IRDA's Grievance Call Centre and Insurance Information Bureau (IIB) website here on Tuesday, Mr. Mukherjee noted that the insurance sector contributed immensely to the infrastructure development in the country. Stating that the government had embarked on a huge expansion of infrastructure at this critical juncture, he wanted insurance companies to take the lead in creating national assets. Urging the insurance companies to come out with a combination product which delivers all types of risk coverage to each family at one go, he told them to leverage information technology and ensure quicker and safer delivery of such products. He also wanted the insurance firms to ensure that policy holders get value for their money and sufficient risk coverage.

The Finance Minister said the Centre was working with the IRDA to strengthen the institution of ombudsman which would go a long way in building the confidence of policy holders. He told the insurers to get their act together in management of underwriting and other areas of operation, besides setting up in-house grievance redressing mechanism.

Referring to recovery from global financial crisis, he cautioned the insurance firms to reduce costs and build lean organisational structure.

Union Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said it was right time for insurance companies to hone their underwriting skills and price their products on a scientific basis. He lauded the IRDA for setting up grievance call centre which protects the interests of policy holders.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah requested the Finance Minister to dovetail the Centre's Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna with Rajiv Aarogyasri to avoid duplication. He also wanted the Centre to share equally the Abhaya Hastham (social security pension scheme for women above 60 years) of the State Government.

IRDA Chairman J. Hari Narayan urged the Centre to provide tax benefit in the proposed Direct Tax Code and tax exemption for pension funds.