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IRDA issues draft IPO norms for general insurers

issuers to have 10-year experience, must get IRDA nod before approaching Sebi

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companies planning to tap the capital market for funds should have 10 year experience and will have to seek prior approval from the sector regulator, said in its draft guidelines.

"No general insurance company shall approach for public issue of shares and for any subsequent issue ... without the specific previous written approval of the Authority," IRDA said in the draft norms for initial public offering (IPO) of non-life insurers.

The draft norms -- IRDA (Issuance of Capital by General Insurance Companies) Regulations, 2012 -- states that the regulator would take into account the insurer's financial position, its capital structure and regulatory record before permitting them to come out with the share sale.

Further, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has kept with it the powers to prescribe the extent to which the promoters shall dilute their respective shareholding and the shares that can be alloted to foreign investors.

Further, IRDA would also prescribe the minimum lock-in period for the promoters after the share sale.
    
IRDA would also look into the purpose for which the insurer is proposing to raise the funds from the market and the insurer's capital structure.

"An applicant company proposing to raise share capital through a public issue may do so only on completion of 10 years from the date of commencement of business," IRDA said, adding that the approval granted by the Authority shall have a validity period of one year.
    
The regulator has also prescribed additional information -- risk factors specific to insurance companies, an overview of the insurance industry and a glossary of terms used in the insurance sector -- in the offer document for companies to come out with share sale offer.
    
IRDA has invited comments from general insurance companies by September 30 on the exposure draft.
    
Last year, IRDA had notified the guidelines for life insurance companies to tap the capital market.

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