Kathmandu, July 14
Putting to rest the age-old dispute between the insurance companies and agents, Insurance Board — the insurance sector regulator — has decided that incentives provided to insurance agents cannot exceed 18 per cent.
This means that when the new rule comes into effect on Sunday, insurance companies will not be able to provide incentives to their agents as per their discretion like they have been doing till date.
IB is enforcing the rule acting on recommendations of a committee, which had been formed nearly a year ago when the battle between the insurance companies and agents regarding the incentives had peaked.
Quick look at the incentives
|Name of the company||FY 2014-15||FY 2015-16|
According to the committee Chair and Director of IB Raju Raman Paudel, insurance companies can provide up to 18 per cent incentive to agents, who are entitled to professional skill enhancement, agent training and market promotion. “If any insurer is found to have breached the incentive ceiling, they will be punished as per the provision mentioned in the Insurance Act,” Paudel added.
Article 36 of the Insurance Act states that insurance companies and agents that flout IB rules can be slapped a fine of up to Rs 10,000.
While the new rule will not affect the premium of the insurance policy or the profit made by the insurance companies, IB has clarified that the bonus rate on policies should also not be affected in any way.
“IB just wants to manage incentives that agents have been getting from companies. It does not mean that policy rate would be increased or that policyholders will be affected,” he explained.
The study report had found that incentives given by insurance companies ranged from as low as less than 10 per cent to as high as nearly 24 per cent. “As per the new rule, insurance companies can only provide commission on the first premium and the incentives will have to be below the ceiling,” Paudel said.
According to the report, in the fiscal 2015-16, Surya Life Insurance Company had provided 23.96 per cent incentive to its agents — the highest among the eight life insurance companies in operation. MetLife, on the other hand, provided the lowest incentive of 6.34 per cent.
IB finalised the ceiling on incentives after holding discussions with agents and insurance companies. According to IB officials, in the initial meetings, agents had demanded 20 per cent incentive per year from companies, whereas companies were ready to provide not more than 15 per cent.
“IB has fixed the ceiling based on our calculations of expenses borne by companies for training agents, market development and professional skill enhancement programmes,” an official told THT.
A version of this article appears in print on July 15, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.