RGA, Swiss Re among 5 global reinsurers get final R3 licence to run shops in India

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Mumbai, December 24
In a move to expand reinsurance in the country, Insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) on Friday approved the R3 application and granted certificate of registration to five global reinsurers. Those reinsurers who got the final licence are Munich Re, Swiss Re, Scor, Hannover Re and RGA, according to a top IRDA official. As per the regulator’s norms, a foreign reinsurer should get three levels of licences from the IRDA to start operations and some of them have already got R1 licence and now are awaiting R2 and R3. The R3 is the final approval from the regulator to begin branch operations in the country.
Confirming the development, RGA’s Chief Executive and Managing Director (MD & CEO) Thomas Mathew told The Pioneer on Friday, “RGA is lucky one of them to get such opportunity and it has long term commitment to Indian insurance market. We are keen to provide continued service to our clients. With the branch license, RGA will become a regulated legal entity in India and will be able to give better, faster and efficient services to its clients.”
When asked about the timeline for operating its branches in India, Mathew said, “We will have one branch at present and it will be operational in a couple of months from now. Our parent organisation has already brought in the initial capital of Rs 100 crore and the India branch already has 45 people on its roll.”
RGA has 23 life insurance companies, including the insurance behemoth LIC, as its clients in the country and 5 life insurance companies as clients in Sri Lanka. It is the global market leader in life reinsurance with total revenue of $10.4 billion and assets of $50.4 billion in 2015. It is strong in actuarial, underwriting and product development talents.
At present, public sector GIC Re is the only reinsurer which is operational in the country. The global reinsurers which had earlier applied for the licence include Munich Re, Swiss Re, Scor, Hannover Re, XL Catlin and RGA and all got the approval except XL Catlin.
“It is expected now that Swiss reinsurer XL Catlin and London-based specialised reinsurer Lloyd’s are expected to get R2 soon, whereas Gen Re (part of Berkshire Hathaway of Warren Buffet) is set to receive R1 approval shortly,” the official said.
ITI Reinsurance, promoted by a domestic firm controlled by Sudhir Valia, has already received R2 licence and is waiting the final approval of R3 licence to kick off its operations.

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