Insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has asked all insurers, selling pension products, to disclose in the policy document maturity benefits, a move that will make it easier for individuals to opt for the best policy as per their needs.
IRDA has issued new guidelines for pension products. The new guidelines will come into force from December 1, 2011. Existing pension products, which do not comply with the guidelines, will have to be withdrawn from January 1, 2012. IRDA said, “All pension products shall have explicitly defined assured benefit that is applicable on death, on surrender and on vesting, which is disclosed at the time of sale.”
The guidelines do away with the earlier requirement of providing a minimum guaranteed return of 4.5 per cent on all pension products that did not find favor with life insurers.
The insurers at the time of sale of policies would have to make an illustration of the returns which it is expected to provide, in the range of 4-8 per cent, to the policyholders.
“The need for greater security of the pensioner’s fund and the stability and financial viability of the insurance companies need to be balanced for healthy growth of the sector,” IRDA said.
In September 2010, IRDA introduced guidelines for pension products which mandated returns on such products to be linked to the reverse repo rate and the minimum guaranteed return was fixed at 4.5 per cent.
The guidelines did not find favor with insurers, who argued that they would be forced to invest only in debt instruments.
Following this, there was a decline in the sale of pension products as private insurers did not come out with any regular premium unit-linked pension products.