New Delhi: To promote penetration of insurance in the country, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has proposed to rope in kirana shopowners, chemists shops and petrol pump operators to sell micro insurance products. Micro insurance products are schemes with low ticket size and targeted towards rural and urban poor. “In order to broadbase the micro insurance business there is a case to expand the microinsurance agency base by adding few more distribution partners or Individuals,” IRDA said in an exposure draft on Micro Insurance Regulations.
The IRDA proposes to allow individual owners of kirana shops, fair price shops, medical shops, petrol pumps, individual public call office (PCO) operators to be categorize as microinsurance agents. “Since, these individuals have a physical presence and standing in these specific market segments as those of the existing Standalone Micro Insurance Agents, it is considered that they stand on similar footing along with standalone micro insurance agents,” the IRDA said. Currently some entities like non-government organisations (NGOs), Micro FinanceInstitutions (MFIs) and Self help Groups (SHGs) currently work as micro insuranceagent.
District Cooperative banks, Regional Rural Banks, primary Agricultural Cooperative societies, individual agents too work as micro insurance agents. It said that the intent of regulation in the sector is yet to take off since the notification of the Micro Insurance regulations in November, 2005. For the year ending March 2011, 36.50 lakh new policies were issues by collecting Rs130.40 crore of new business under individual life insurance business. In respect of group policies, micro insurance covered 1.53 crore lives and garnered Rs155.22 crore premium.