No progress in execution of new insurance laws
Even two months after the enactment of two laws relating to insurance, the government has not succeeded in executing those putting the industry into disarray, lament insurers.
Two ordinances Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) Ordinance 2008 and Insurance Ordinance (IO) 2008 were promulgated in early October and a gazette notification was published on October 13 to replace the country's 70-year-old insurance laws.
An institution like Insurance Regulatory Authority is supposed to be in existence with the enforcement of the IRA Ordinance 2008, but the incumbent Department of Insurance is yet to cease its functions.
Official sources said the government has made no headway in finding an appropriate person to head the IRA, which should have a five-member body to run the organisation.
“Now we are like a guardian-less industry. We cannot go to anybody with our problems unless the new law comes into effect,” said Nasir A Chowdhury, managing director of Green Delta Insurance Company Limited.
“The government cannot take two months to make the law effective after the gazette notification,” he added.
When a senior officer's attention was drawn to the failure in establishing the new authority for the insurance sector, he admitted that the government is yet to comply with such an obligation.
“The government is looking for a person to appoint him or her as the IRA chairman. In fact, there is no progress yet,” said the official at the Department of Insurance.
However, the government on November 18 formally brought the insurance industry under the jurisdiction of the finance ministry, instead of the commerce ministry.
“So far as I know, the Ministry of Finance is working on setting up the IRA,” said Roy Debdash, the controller of insurance.
However, he could not say when it would be implemented.
There are 60 insurance companies in operation under private sector. Of which, 17 are life insurance companies and 43 general. The government owns two companies: Sadharan Bima Corporation and Jiban Bima Corporation, one is a general insurer and the other life.
Industry insiders said the premium of both general and life insurance companies stands at Tk 3,257 crore. With one and half dozen of staff, the chief controller of insurance under the Ministry of Commerce had so far overseen the total industry that has about one crore policyholders in life insurance and at least 50 lakh in general insurance.