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Insurance regulator Irdai has given licence to a General insurer for the first time since 2017, close on the heels of allowing two more applicants in the Life space and is looking at around 20 more applications, its Chairman Debasish Panda said on Wednesday.

The latest to get the licence is Kshema General Insurance and earlier in the year Credit Access Life and Acko Life were given licences, Panda said, adding the regulator is looking at around 20 more applications.

The Life licence was last given in 2011, the Chairman told reporters on the sidelines of an industry summit organised by the industry lobby Ficci here.

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There are 23 life insurers and 33 general players operating in the country now.

The industry closed February with an AUM of Rs 59 lakh crore with a premium value of Rs 10 lakh crore, a growth of 16 per cent.

Addressing the gathering, the regulator asked the industry to take the “Insurance for All by 2047” mandate  not as a slogan but as a call to action and expressed confidence that the stated target could be met well before the deadline.

To attain this, the industry has to be innovative and adopt more and more technologies so that they can develop more and more products that are seamlessly accessible and affordable to the vast majority of the uninsured/underinsured.

Tech-driven innovation can also bring down the cost of products and product deliveries. What the industry should do is to do an encore of what bankers have been doing in the area of financial inclusion.

And for this to happen one needs to connect the missing links in the last-mile delivery. “And I feel one of the easiest ways to achieve this is to engage the Asha and anganwadi workers. You can also engage millions of women in the self help groups,” Panda said.

The industry should also look at devising ways to insure the uninsured industry segments like the missions of small businesses which are the backbone of the economy. You should also develop products for say the gig workers, he said.

Panda also reiterated his call for more players, more capital and more distributors to make the dream of insuring all by the turn of 2047, when the nation will be celebrating a century of independence. PTI BEN DRR