IAS Officer, Subhash Chandra Khuntia, assumes the position as the new IRDAI Chairman. Here’s hoping policyholders will benefit.
There has been a buzz around the appointment of the recent IAS Officer as the New IRDAI Chairman. The Odisha-born 1981-batch IAS Officer has been the former Karnataka Chief Secretary. His role in digitization and vision of introducing internet in various secondary schools is well known. Having served in various government departments, he has successfully bagged positions in the Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and been the Special Secretary and Financial Advisor in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Secretary in the Department of School Education and Literacy.
TS Vijayan's five-year tenure ended on February 21st, 2018, following which, the ACC (Appointments Committee of the Cabinet) approved Mr. Khuntia's appointment. Reportedly, he has been appointed for the next three years following his date of assuming the charge. He happens to be the first of the industry officials to be appointed as the chairman of IRDAI, as most of the previous ones were bureaucrats before holding the position.
Thanks to technology-driven methods, the recent focus lies on the dual objectives of faster policy issuance as well as quicker claims settlement. Having served as the Joint Secretary at the Bureau of School Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, he had focused on driving ICT or Information and Communication Technology across schools on a large scale. His role should come in handy while tackling chronic issues related to the sector. Moreover, the product features of some insurance products, especially general and life, have not been tuned up for nearly three years; thus, these could be the first sets to be tweaked with an emphasis on higher renewal rates.
The penetration of insurance has been alarmingly low. While general insurance is below the 1%-mark, life insurance is below the 5%-mark. Another challenge that lies in the pathway of insurance is the ever-increasing attrition rate of individual agents. Maybe, a tech-first approach is all that is needed to soothe the pain and solve the issue. Additionally, training programs for agents and some career development tactics could help in combating the attrition of agents. e-Commerce hasn’t been introduced in the insurance sector yet. Its introduction will only help insurance companies sell less complicated products on online shopping portals at affordable rates. This could lure youngsters into buying insurance besides promoting sales. Direct sale of every insurance product could also be a simpler process.
While banking and finance sectors have seen a major drift in the use of technology, the insurance segment seems to be a step behind, causing a time-lag of 10-15 days for policy issuance. We are hoping that Subhash Chandra Khuntia, PhD in Economics plus Masters of Technology and Computer Science, can infuse his technological expertise in insurance as well.
At the end of it, it seems that Mr. Khuntia will ensure transparency of products and their features, do away with cases of wrongful claims denial and back the timely payment of the death claims, thereby providing the policyholders with their rights.