More than 10 lakh insurance agents quit the profession in fiscal 2011 as new rules on sale of Ulips made it unviable to remain in business. Data compiled by IRDA for the first time on addition and deletion of agents in any year showed the number of agents leaving was about 35%, or 10.45 lakh of the total number of agents at the beginning of the year. Some five lakh odd agents left during the first half of year, when the regulator was preparing the set of norms for unit linked policies which were selling like hot cake at that time.

Another 5.4 lakh left the segment during the second half of the year, just after the regulator reduced commissions for agents and brought a host of stringent norms, including a cap on policy lapses. Some 100-odd policies vanished from the market since they were rendered ineligible under the new norms. Senior insurance officials feel the 10.45 lakh number is higher than any other year in the past.

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