The IRDAI recently granted insurance companies the permission to increase the insurance premium for two-wheelers, cars, and health, from 1st April 2017. The insurance body has clarified that this increase will only impact existing rates by around +/- 5%. Even so, this increase might be seen as a double whammy for the general public, considering the recent hefty hike in third party premium rates for vehicle insurance.
Reason behind increasing insurance premiums
The increase is meant to facilitate the payment of rewards to intermediaries and agents. This increase has been rolled out as part of the provisions of the IRDAI (Payment of Commission or Remuneration or Reward to Insurance Agents or Insurance Intermediaries) Regulations 2016. This regulation has introduced a reward system for agents and intermediaries and will also bring about revision in remuneration/commission rates.
Insurance experts believe that this increase, coupled with the fact that insurance premiums have already come under the ambit of service tax, will impact the entire insurance sector. New policy holders will be impacted more than others, as they will have to pay higher premiums now.
Other effects that this will have include:
So far, the IRDAI has proposed an increase of 50% in insurance premiums for motorcycles and cars from the beginning of April 2017. This is applicable on mid-segment cars, big cars, superbikes, sports bikes and even entry level bikes. Commercial vehicles will also fall into this category. Vintage cars, on the other hand, will be given a 25% discount in premium rates.
It is expected that there will be some impact on the persistency i.e. the number of policies that are active after the first year. The number is expected to go down, at least in the short term due to the premium increase.
However, policy holders who bought their insurance before 1st April 2017 will not be affected by the increase in premium rates. Insurers must provide a certificate stating that there is ‘no detrimental change’ in the premiums or any other provisions to policies sold before 1st April.
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