Ex-financial services minister Panda takes over as chair of IRDAI

One of the immediate tasks for Mr. Panda will be to complete the revision of the motor liability insurance premiums

One of the immediate tasks for Mr. Panda will be to complete the revision of the motor liability insurance premiums

Former Finance Services Minister Debasish Panda took office on Monday as head of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Agency of India (IRDAI).

This comes on the heels of the Cabinet Nominating Committee recently approving his name for the top post, which was vacant after his predecessor, Subhash C. Khuntia, left office in May 2021 after a three-year term.

Mr. Panda takes the helm at the insurance regulator as both life and health insurers emerge from the fallout from the pandemic, particularly due to the high levels of claims. As COVID-19 continues to be a threat, businesses and insureds continue to turn to IRDAI for support.

The appointment of the 1987 Uttar Pradesh Cadre Administrative Service official in India also comes shortly after life insurance giant LIC files for an IPO with the SEBI. It was widely expected that the center would fill the position in advance of LIC to obtain pre-IPO approval from the insurance regulator.

However, it is little clear when the life insurance giant’s IPO, the largest India has ever seen, will go ahead. One of the immediate tasks of the new IRDAI Chair will be to complete the revision of motor liability insurance premiums in coordination with the Union Department of Roads and Highways. A draft notice on the new rates was issued by the ministry earlier this month, setting March 14 as the deadline for stakeholders to respond.

However, the former secretary of the Treasury Department’s financial services division, from which he retired on January 31, is not new to insurance and particularly IRDAI, having served as a part-time member of the regulator.

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