The Government appoints former Financial Services Secretary Debasish Panda as the chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for three years after the post has been vacant for 11 months. 

The Government of India, by the power conferred by IRDAI Act, has appointed a former financial services secretary as the chairman of the Insurance Regulator, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, for three years. 

The post of chairman has been vacant for 11 months since the departure of Subhash C. Khuntia. 

Panda is a 1987 batch IAS Officer of Uttar Pradesh Cadre, who retired as the Secretary of the Department of Financial Services earlier this year, has also handled insurance as an additional secretary in the Department. Up to 24th June 2021, he has also served as a part-time member of the IRDAI. 

Panda’s appointment comes at a time when the Initial Public Offering of the sole public sector Life Insurance Company has been announced by the Government. However, the dates of the IPO have not been released in light of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict. 

IRDAI, a body corporate, is established by the Central Government under the IRDAI Act 1999. The primordial aim of the authority is, inter alia, to secure the interests of the policyholders.

The Insurance Industry in India has 57 Insurance companies, 24 Life insurers, and other non-life insurers. There is only one public sector life insurer and six public sector non-life insurers in the market. 

As per the Annual Report 2020-2021, the Insurance Industry in India witnessed a negative 1.7% growth in real premium. The life insurance markets contracted by -1.5% and the non-life by -3.1%. According to Swiss Re, India was ranked 11th in the Global Insurance Business with a share of 1.72% in 2020. 

As per Industry Officials, the role of the new chairman will be crucial in working towards the core mission of the IRDAI including speeding up the licensing and avoiding micromanagement, in addition to setting the house in order.