The contradiction is telling. India’s youngest regulator in the financial services space, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), born on April 19, 2000, in the age of transparency has been and continues to encourage opacity. It seems more concerned about the business and profits of insurance companies than in protecting consumers. Its actions seem more embedded in the second part of its mission statement (“promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry”) than in the first: “To protect the interests of the policyholders.”
Titled “ULIP Products”, its August 18, 2007, rambling press release reflects this irony. The first para notes, “IRDA is keen to ensure that unit linked products are transparent and that customers (SIC) from every walk of life can compare features and charges across products and across companies.” Great — the regulator has finally woken up to the loot that has been happening in the garb of insurance over the past two to three years, and which we have been regularly highlighting.
Opinion in The Indian Express, August 27, 2007