By BS Reporter
Notwithstanding the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority's (Irda's) letter to insurance companies to ignore the market regulator's order barring them from selling unit-linked insurance products (Ulips), the latter spent an anxious day today. However, it should be business as usual from tomorrow.
The 14 life insurers who were sought to be barred by the Securities and Exchange Board (Sebi) of India began to breathe easy only at the end of the day, after a day of lobbying, clarifying and answering questions from agents, distributors and policyholders trying to find the fate of their investments.
They did seek to draw comfort from Irda's order on Saturday by putting it on their websites and asking their field staff to use it to respond to any query. But, it was only after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced that the Sebi order would be kept on hold that normalcy returned in the industry.
"We were in touch with legal advisors after the Sebi notice on Friday. We had to address concerns of investors. But now the statement has come and it is fairly clear. We will be back to our normal routine from tomorrow," said Vibha Padalkar, chief financial officer, HDFC Standard Life.
"As a pro-active step, we sent a copy of the Irda directive to agents in the morning," said a senior executive officer of a large private company.
"For us, business is as usual. The matter will be resolved by the two regulators. As a company, we have to meet customer needs and abide by the law of the land," said Aegon Religare Life Insurance Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Jamkhedkar.
"Any decision taken in favour of investors is good," said Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance MD & CEO Kamesh Goyal.
The nine other life insurance companies which were not part of the Sebi order but had received a copy of it waited cautiously for further developments.
"Now, business will be usual," said Star Union Daiichi Life Insurance Chief Executive Officer K Sahay after the ministry announcement.