Why glasnost at IRDAI is a good sign for insurtech startups

Why glasnost at IRDAI is a good sign for insurtech startups

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Pratik Bhakta

137 reads
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Pratik Bhakta

137 reads

At a recent closed-door meeting with tech companies in Bengaluru, the sector regulator called for their increased participation. A push for new general insurance players and differentiated licences is now on the table

June 08, 2022

10 MINS READ

It’s barely 20 years old, but the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has always been perceived as a fuddy duddy, happy to do things the way they have always been done, and slow in adopting technology. Startups and entrepreneurs have often held the insurance regulator responsible for the lack of innovation in the insurance sector, given the strict control that it exercises. 

That may change now, with a new captain in the wheelhouse, one who has been given a relatively free hand in steering the ship, even if that means going into some uncharted waters. Debashish Panda, previously the financial services secretary, was appointed chairman in March, almost a year after the previous chairman demitted office (in May 2021). The new chairman wants to change the way the industry operates, and he has a mandate from the government to do so. 

Insurtech startups could be the biggest beneficiaries of the winds of glasnost blowing through the hitherto shut windows of the IRDAI. Last week, the regulator held a closed-door conversation in Bengaluru with top executives from the insurance industry, mainly with the agenda of looking towards the future through the lens of technology.

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