Chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) J. Hari Narayan has asked insurance companies to bring down the costs of management and selling products for their long-term sustenance. He also stressed the need to redesign insurance products, particularly health policies.

Speaking to meadipersons after inaugurating the 106th testing and assessment centre (TAC) for online testing of insurance agents here on Monday he said: “Cost containment means not just one measure but reducing every possible cost as the IRDA's concern is to keep the insurance industry healthy in a long-term perspective.” He, however, admitted that there would be some amount of pain in it.

Stating that IRDA would announce new guidelines on the administration of health insurance shortly, Mr. Hari Narayan said many aspects such as making health insurance claim formats uniform and simple across companies for the convenience of policyholders were being thought of.

On the stand-off between insurers and major hospitals on the provision of cashless treatment, he said that IRDA would not intervene in the matter. It was a commercial issue between insurers and hospitals and hoped that it would be resolved soon.

Asked about the possible jurisdiction conflict with the proposed Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, if it was enacted, Mr. Hari Narayan said the IRDA would have inter-regulator relations with the help of high level coordination committee (HLCC).

The IRDA was planning to conduct only online testing of prospective insurance agents from April 2011, Mr. Hari Narayan said. As many as 250 TACs would be set up across the country by the end of current financial year by NSE.IT in association with Insurance Institute of India (III). Managing Director and CEO of NSE.IT Ramesh Padmanabhan was also present.

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