Comments invited from stakeholders on the draft exposure by June 30

Insurance companies that have completed ten years of operations and have strong financials will be allowed to access the capital market, according the draft guidelines released by the regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on Tuesday.

Those insurance companies which have completed ten years of operations would be eligible to raise money through the public offer provided the firm meets other requirements, the proposed regulation said.

The companies that have completed ten years of operations include ICICI Prudential Life and HDFC Standard Life.

The insurance sector was opened to private sector in 2000. The 10-year clause for public offer is also a part of the Insurance Act, 1938.

No issuance and allotment of capital by an insurance company shall be, in any form other than as fully paid up equity shares, the proposed IRDA (Issues of Capital and Disclosure Requirements for Life Insurance Companies) Regulations, 2011, said.

Insurance firm planning public offer has to seek ‘formal approval' from the IRDA and then approach the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for final approval from the capital market regulator.

“The authority shall consider the applicant company's overall financial position, the regulatory record and the proposal for issue of capital prior to giving its ‘formal approval' to the proposal to get its shares listed on the stock markets or raise funds through an issue of capital,” it said.

As part of eligibility criteria, the insurance company should have maintained the prescribed regulatory solvency margin as at the end of the preceding six quarters, it said.

Besides, the insurance company should have embedded value of at least twice the paid up equity capital, it said, adding the insurance company should have been fully compliant with the corporate governance guidelines issued by the IRDA.

“Only after obtaining the consent of the IRDA to make an application, the insurance company concerned may proceed with complying with various requirements as may be laid down by SEBI under the ICDR Regulations, 2009,” it said. The proposed regulation has also recommended the insertion of risk factors specific to the insurance companies and overview of the insurance industry in the offer document.

Besides, the offer document should contain glossary of terms used in the insurance sector and disclosure of financial statements.

IRDA has invited comments or suggestions from all stakeholders on the exposure draft by June 30.