The position of member-actuary at the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda), lying vacant for more than two years, is expected to take longer to be filled. While the final appointment order is yet to be passed, it is raising concerns among the life insurers.
R Kannan, member-actuary at Irda, retired in early 2011 and the position is vacant since then. The finance ministry in December 2012 had brought out an advertisement for filling the post. Three people, including Irda Joint Director Meenakumari J, Deputy Director Shyama Prasad Chakraborty, and Pournima Gupte, an actuary at Reliance Life Insurance, had been interviewed for the post.
However, no final decision has been taken on the candidate who would take up this position. Finance ministry officials said Gupte was the likely candidate, but added the name was still to be cleared. Irda had earlier advertised for the post, but did not receive sufficient response.
“The industry is suffering because of the absence of the member-actuary at Irda. Since product approvals are at its peak, delays could have been avoided if the position was filled earlier,” said a senior life insurance official. Irda has given three months extension to life insurance companies to refile their products.
According to the section 4 of Irda Act, 1999, Irda is a 10-member team consisting of a chairman, five whole-time members and four part-time members. All of them are appointed by the government of India. Senior appointments under the central government require approval from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
The prime minister, the minister of home affairs and the minister in-charge of the concerned ministry are the members of the ACC. The ACC is yet to take a final call on the two new managing directors at Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC).
Irda presently has member-life, member-non life, member-finance and investment and member-distribution. The position of member-distribution, who will be responsible for handling matters related to agents, intermediaries and their licensing requirements, was carved out recently and D D Singh (former zonal manager at LIC) has been appointed for this maiden post.
The Department of Financial Services, a unit of the finance ministry that looks after the insurance, banking and pension sectors, had invited applications for the post of whole-time member (actuary), Irda in December 2012, on a deputation basis/direct recruitment on contract basis. While the pay was fixed at ~3.12 lakh a month for this post, industry experts said actuaries could be paid much higher in private sector companies.
According to the Irda Act, 1999, the members of Irda are required to be persons of ability, integrity and standing who has knowledge or experience in life insurance, general insurance, actuarial science, finance, economics, law, accountancy, administration or any other discipline which would, in the opinion of the central government, be useful to the authority.
For the post of member-actuary, applicants should be a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of India, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK or a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia. Other societies whose fellows will be considered include a fellow of the Society of Actuaries in the US, the Casualty Actuarial Society in the US or fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
The minimum age for selection is 40 years and with a post qualification experience of at least five years in actuarial functions. This member will hold office for a maximum of five years or till he/she reaches the age of 62 years.
Member-actuary looks at all actuarial matters of the insurance industry, including product structures, features, surrender value and death benefit. All insurance related calculations with respect to product design are to be ascertained and approved by this Irda official.