Photo of Indranath Bishnu

Partner in the general corporate practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amamrchand Mangaldas. Indranath advises on foreign direct investments, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures and specializes in the Insurance industry. He has advised multiple corporations, both Indian and foreign, in relation to the establishment, operation, management and control of insurance companies in India. Pursuant to the amendments of the Insurance Act as well as the Foreign Investment Policy relating to the insurance sector in 2015, Indranath has been involved in multiple deals involving the entry, exit and increase of ownership of stakeholders in the said sector.

 

He also advises on mergers and acquisitions in other financial services sectors such as mutual funds, credit information companies, commercial banks, credit card companies, and payment and settlement systems. Other sectors that he has advised in include civil aviation, retail, consumer goods and services, and real estate. He can be reached at indranath.bishnu@cyrilshroff.com

Liberalisation of Foreign Investment in Insurance Brokers - Budget 2019

Around noon on Friday, July 4th, 2019, the Hon’ble Minister of Finance, in her budget speech to the nation, proposed revisions to the existing foreign investment caps applicable to insurance brokers and other insurance intermediaries in order to allow 100% foreign direct investment (“FDI”). This move was long overdue on the government’s part, particularly in relation to insurance brokers. In fact, a proposal for liberalising foreign investment caps for insurance brokers has been on the drafting table of the Government of India for close to two years now. In the past, a number of representations had also been made by market participants to the various departments of the government highlighting the need to differentiate foreign investment norms for insurance brokers and insurance companies, and to not treat insurance brokers in parity with insurance companies, in so far as foreign investment is concerned[1].
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data protection indian insurance regulations

In the first part of this two part series we discussed about the regulatory frameworks governing insurance companies and insurance intermediaries. In this part we will look at the guidelines applicable to both insurance companies and insurance intermediaries which includes cyber security and ecommerce guidelines.

Guidelines Applicable to Both Insurance Companies as well as Insurance Intermediaries

In addition to the previously-mentioned regulations, the IRDAI has also issued certain guidelines pertaining to data security and protection that are applicable to both insurance companies as well as insurance intermediaries. These are the Guidelines on Information and Cyber Security for Insurers[i] (Cyber Security Guidelines) and the Guidelines on Insurance E-Commerce[ii] (E-commerce Guidelines) and have been discussed below.
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 Data Protection in the Indian Insurance Sector – Regulatory Framework Part I

A shift towards digitisation has been the central theme for the insurance industry in recent years. Digitisation lowers the cost of transacting business, helps increase penetration, and brings higher efficiencies. However, the convenience of digitisation brings with it concerns related to data protection.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 (SPDI Rules) set out the general framework with respect to data protection in India. However, given the nature of the business of insurance companies and intermediaries, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has prescribed an additional framework for the protection of policyholder information and data, which is required to be followed in addition to the general framework under the IT Act.
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IRDAI clarification Written Mandate under the IRDAI (Insurance Brokers) Regulations, 2018

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) notified the IRDAI (Insurance Brokers) Regulations, 2018 (Brokers Regulations) on January 12, 2018, repealing the erstwhile brokers regulations of 2013. This continues what is now considered an eventful financial year for the insurance regulatory space in India.

The Brokers Regulations improved upon the existing framework for the governance and regulation of insurance brokers- who act as significant intermediaries in the insurance sector. IRDAI, under these new Regulations, prescribed that all insurance brokers are required to comply with the code of conduct (Code of Conduct) set out in Schedule I – Form H of the Regulations.
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