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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Insurance companies' IPOs next fiscal as IRDA gives final touches to equity norms.

Insurance companies will be able to raise funds through public floats next fiscal with the insurance watchdog set to announce guidelines for equity issues by life insurance companies early next month.The regulator said it was still in the process of making a formal proposal to the market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), for allowing non-life insurers to issue shares to public.
In October last year, market regulator Sebi had allowed life insurance companies to issue public offers. According to the draft guidelines compiled by the regulator, only those insurance companies that are in operation for the last 10 years will be eligible for coming out with public offers.
The regulator is also working on the draft regulation for covering nuclear accidents. "We are in early stages. This involves large amount of risks. We will have to first constitute a pool, which will be part of the larger global pool (of nuclear accident insurance). That is yet to be figured out," Mr Narayan said. State-run reinsurer General Insurance Corporation (GIC) is working on the details to provide insurance protection against such accidents.

Private sector insurers such as Reliance Life and HDFC Standard Life have evinced interest in tapping the capital markets. Most of the 22 private life insurers and 17 non-life players have foreign partners. The Insurance Act caps foreign direct investment at 26%. According to Sebi, insurance companies in their offer document would have to mention a glossary of terms used in the insurance sector. The insurers will also have to come up with disclosure of risk factors specific to the companies.


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