Cover for some more swing in insurance
The insurance sector saw a series of changes in 2010, with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) finally deciding to clamp down on mis-selling of Ulips (unit-linked insurance plans). Among the several steps that the regulator took included imposing ceiling on Ulip charges. Ironically, the changes can be attributed more to the much reported duel between capital market regulator Sebi and Irda rather than any consumer activism.
Whether the slew of Ulip-centric regulations, which came into effect from September 1, will make any noticeable difference to the way insurance products are bought and sold, remains to be seen.
In a separate development, public sector general insurers withdrew the cashless facility at several leading corporate (or five-star) hospitals starting July 1, citing exorbitant charges. Oddly enough, policyholders covered under corporate group mediclaim, which has been a loss-making portfolio for most insurers, were spared. Last heard, a large number of corporate hospitals had given in to the insurers’ demands to lower their charges, though many others in Mumbai continue to remain defiant.
Nevertheless, the impact of the changes, or the lack of it, will be clearer in 2011. The New Year is expected to herald several other changes, including guidelines on initial public offering (IPOs) as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by insurance companies. On that count, at least, 2011 is likely to be a worthy successor to 2010.
Here are some likely trends and developments identified by industry experts and watchers that could affect you as a policyholder, next year: