Ref: IRDAI/F&A/GDL/CPM/045/02/2020 Date: 7th February, 2020
Revised Guidelines on Stewardship Code for Insurers in India
CMDs/CEOs of All Insurers
Insurance companies are significant institutional investors in listed companies and the investments are held by them as custodians of policyholders’ funds. The state of governance of the investee companies is an important aspect and insurance companies must ensure that investee companies maintain corporate governance standards at high level. Therefore, insurance companies should play an active role in the general meetings of investee companies and engage with the managements at a greater level to improve their governance. This will result in informed decisions by the parties and improve the return on investments of insurers which will ultimately benefit the policyholders.
In this regard, the Authority had issued a code for stewardship for the insurance companies vide its circular ref: IRDA/F&A/GDL/CMP/059/03/2017 on 20th March 2017. The code was in the form of a set of principles which the insurance companies needed to adopt and made applicable from FY 2017-18. Guidelines for each principle under the code had also been prescribed by the Authority. As per the code, insurer should have a board approved stewardship policy which should identify and define the stewardship responsibilities that the insurer wishes to undertake and how the policy intends to fulfill the responsibilities to enhance the wealth of its policyholders who are ultimate beneficiaries.
It has been decided to review the existing guidelines on stewardship code based on the experience in implementation, compliance by the insurers and the recent developments in this regard. Accordingly, a revised guidance on stewardship code has been prepared and placed herewith as Revised Guidelines on Stewardship Code for Insurers in India.
All the insurers need to review and update their existing stewardship policy based on the Revised Guidelines on Stewardship Code for Insurers in India within 3 months from the date of issue of the same and the updated stewardship policy needs to be approved by the Board of Directors. The updated policy should be disclosed on the website within 30 days of approval by the Board by all insurers, alongside the public disclosures. Any subsequent change / modification to the stewardship policy should be specifically disclosed at the time of updating the policy document on the website.
All insurers shall comply with all the principles given in the guidelines and submit an Annual Certificate of Compliance approved by the Board to the Authority as per Annexure B referred in the guidelines, duly certified by CEO and Compliance Officer on or before 30th June every year.
These guidelines are issued under the provisions of Section 34 (1) of the Insurance Act, 1938 for compliance by all insurers from FY 2020-21.