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Irdai remains headless amid raging pandemic

(This story originally appeared in on May 08, 2021)

Hyderabad: The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (Irdai) has turned headless after chairman S C Khuntia retired on May 6 without a successor being appointed. While the office has remained vacant in the past, the current situation could throw challenges as the industry is in the thick of the Covid battle and Irdai has to make snap decisions over health claims. The government may appoint an acting chairman in the interim.

However, those holding temporary positions do not take policy decisions. The post is not expected to be filled up anytime soon as the government has set May 29 as the deadline for aspirants to send in their applications.

Even last time, when Khuntia was appointed as Irdai chief in May 2018, the regulator was headless for over two months after T S Vijayan retired. The lack of urgency shown by the government in ensuring the appointment of a successor promptly, given the current situation, came in for considerable flak from the industry.

Meanwhile, the Banks Board Bureau recommended the appointment of Mini Ipe and B C Patnaik for the position of managing directors of Life Insurance Corporation. The board also recommended Inderjeet Singh and Suchita Gupta for the position of chairman in United India and National Insurance, respectively. “At the time of the pandemic, certain ‘stern’ decisions have to be taken, which only the chairperson can take with ease,” an industry insider said.

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