National Insurance Academy (NIA), Pune, the premier research, training and educational institution in the field of insurance and risk management in India conducted a one day Seminar on “Financial Inclusion through Insurance”, today, at their campus in Pune. The need for financial protection is paramount for the underprivileged sections in India. These sections, however, do not actually have any protective financial umbrella, thus Insurance can address this need by providing cover to the people across the country who need it the most.
In the Budget Speech of 2013-14 the Finance Minister announced his vision of insurance inclusion and also stated.
“....All towns of India with a population of 10,000 or more will have an office of LIC of at least one public sector general insurance company. I propose to achieve this goal by 31.3.2014.”
Financial inclusion presented the way to bring economic wellbeing to millions of people particularly in the uncovered areas of India. To unleash India’s growth potential and to promote equity, is a contemporary theme of vital national importance. National Insurance Academy, therefore, organised a daylong seminar with a view to bringing together eminent personalities that are known for their contribution towards the field of Financial Inclusion, on one platform. The objective of the seminar was to delve into, deliberate and delineate the various issues and help in devising a concrete future course of action.
The broad theme for the seminar was Millions to Cover- Reaching the Unreached through Insurance.
On this occasion, Dr. Achintan Bhattacharya, JS (DFS, MoF) & Interim Director, NIA extended a warm welcome to one and all. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Bhattacharya said “The idea of the seminar came from the Budget 2013 – 2014 announcement, wherein the Honourable Finance Minister announced setting up public Sector Insurance offices in all towns of India which have a population of 10,000 or more.” He encouraged one and all to speak, move and openly think together in this attempt.
Also present at the event, Thomas Mathew T., Current-in-Charge-Chairman, LIC & as the Chairman Governing Board NIA, he welcomed one and all to the seminar. He stated the purpose of the seminar is to enhance the process of ensuring to all uncovered people at an affordable cost. He said, today low income groups can also contribute small amounts towards insurance. He went on to quote C.K. Prahlad “The future belongs to companies who treat the poor as their customers.”
Extending his compliments to NIA for the initiation of this thought leadership programme, T. S. Vijayan, Chairman, IRDA stated, “Today, there is no divergence seen in any field. For IRDA, Financial Inclusion means Making insurance available to lower income groups at an affordable cost. In order to build a strong system, we must focus on improving persistent communication tools, improving premium policy renewal options, fostering long term distribution partner relations, optimum use of technology for providing services apart from the using brick and mortar structures, ensuring all financial needs can be addressed at one place. The insurance penetration in India is 4.1 life and 0.7 for non- life, which is very small for a country like India. We still have a long way to go.”
Arvind Kumar, JS (P&I), MoF, one of the eminent spokespeople at the seminar suggested relooking at the policies made. He mentioned some of the major announcement of the Union Budget of 2013 – 2014, amongst these were, +69 having insurance offices in all towns of India having population of 10,000 or more, Group saving products: this product is now being made available to homogenous non- employer- employee groups and to provide a common platform for settlement of insurance claims to bereaved families at the earliest. He also mentioned about unequal penetration of insurance in India thus providing an opportunity to improve tremendously.
The Seminar was attended by over 200 delegates including Senior Executives from Public, Private Sector Insurance Companies, Leading Banks, NGOs and other participating organizations. This was the first seminar that was hosted by National Insurance Academy (NIA), Pune, on a large scale, after the Honourable Finance Minister in his latest Budget Speech included Insurance along with Banking to achieve the aim of Financial Inclusion.
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