September 12: The Insurance Board is preparing to change the investment guidelines after insurance companies were found to have deposited most of the amount collected from their clients in fixed deposits accounts of banks. The insurance companies complained that they were unable to diversify their investment due to the investment guidelines. Following the grudges of the insurance companies, the Insurance Board decided to amend the guidelines to allow diversify the investment of the companies.
“We received complaints that the insurance companies were unable to invest in sectors like hydropower, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure development and other productive sectors due to the investment guidelines,” said Surya Prasad Silwal, chairman of the Insurance Board.
“Therefore, we are preparing to amend the guidelines so that the insurance companies can invest in new areas,” added Silwal.
The Insurance Board had changed the investment guidelines three years ago and allowed to diversify investment as per the suggestion of the insurance companies. However, they are still unable to invest. As a result, they focused on fixed deposits.
The guidelines issued by the board in March 2019 has opened way to invest in infrastructure and productive sectors such as real estate business, water resources, agriculture, tourism, in addition to fixed deposits and shares. However, insurance companies do not seem to be attracted to other areas except fixed deposits.
According to the Insurance Board, by the end of the fiscal year 2021/22, 19 life insurance companies and 20 non-life insurance companies invested a total of Rs 527.8 billion. Among these investments, 408 billion has invested in fixed deposits of banks and financial institutions. This is 77.48 percent of the total investment of insurance companies.
The insurance companies have invested only 1.41 percent in infrastructure development which includes investment of Rs 7.14 billion by life insurance companies and Rs 300 million investment by non-life insurance companies. The investment of insurance companies in the real estate sector is negligible.
As per the guidelines, companies should invest a minimum of 40 percent of their total technical reserve in fixed deposits of commercial and infrastructure banks and a minimum of 5 percent in government bonds. Similarly, a maximum of 20 percent can be invested in development banks and a maximum of 10 percent in finance companies.
Similarly, they can invest up to 5 percent in real estate business, up to 10 percent in ordinary shares of listed companies, up to 20 percent in preference shares, up to 20 percent in shares of listed companies, up to 20 percent in infrastructure including agriculture, tourism and water resources, and up to 5 percent in Citizens Investment Trust and mutual funds.