Photo of Shravan Belsare

Associate in General Corporate practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Shravan advises on mergers and acquisitions with special focus on the insurance space and International Financial Services Centres in India. He can be reached at shravan.belsare@cyrilshroff.com

Appointment of Common Directors between Intermediaries and Insurers IRDAI Resolves the Conundrum!

Common Directors under Section 48A of the Insurance Act, 1938

The appointment of the same individual on the Board of Directors (“Board”) of both an insurer and an insurance intermediary (brokers, corporate agents and web aggregators) (“Common Director”) is currently prohibited under Section 48A[1] of the Insurance Act, 1938 (“Act”). However, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (“IRDAI”) is empowered to permit an intermediary to be a director on the Board of an insurance company subject to the conditions and restrictions as may be imposed by the IRDAI. Therefore, if an insurer were to appoint Common Directors on its Board, a prior IRDAI approval is a critical requirement.

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Evolving Insurance Landscape in IFSC

The Gujarat International Financial Tec-City (“GIFT City”) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, is India’s first operational greenfield smart city, housing a domestic tariff zone and an International Financial Services Centre (“IFSC”) in a Multi-service Special Economic Zone (“SEZ”). As part of developing India’s very own and first IFSC, both Indian and foreign entities are permitted to establish and operate IFSC Insurance Offices (“IIO”) from GIFT City, upon obtaining the requisite approvals. The IIOs have the advantage or the ability to transact in freely convertible foreign currencies in offshore markets, while being situated within the territorial borders of India. From 2015 to early 2020, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (“IRDAI”) issued guidelines for IIOs (“IRDAI IIO Guidelines”). Thereafter, pursuant to the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019, the International Financial Services Centres Authority (“IFSCA”) was empowered on October 1, 2020 as the unified regulator with wide powers to develop and regulate financial products, financial services, and financial institutions in IFSCs, including IIOs.

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