Govt appoints former financial services secretary Debasish Panda as IRDAI chief
THE GOVERNMENT ON Friday appointed former financial services secretary Debasish Panda as the chairman of the insurance regulator IRDAI for a period of three years. The post was lying vacant for close to 11 months since the departure of Subhash C. Khuntia.
Panda’s appointment comes at a time when the government has announced the initial public offering of the country’s largest insurer, state-run LIC, although it’s now on a wait-and-watch mode due to market turmoil in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Panda, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, retired as the secretary of the department of financial services on January 31 this year. Previously, he had handled insurance as an additional secretary in the same department of the finance ministry.
The country’s insurance industry has 57 companies, including 24 life insurers and 34 non-life ones. Among the life insurers, LIC is the sole public-sector company. There are six public sector insurers in the non-life insurance segment.
According to some estimates, the overall market size of the insurance sector was about $280 billion in 2020. Setting the house in order, working towards its core mission of policy holder’s interest, speeding up the new company licensing process, and avoiding micromanagement are some of the important tasks for IRDAI’s incoming Chairman, as per a cross-section of industry officials.