September 20: The Insurance Board, which has been regulating the insurance sector of Nepal, is now going to be transformed into an authority. With the passing of the Insurance Bill 2079 by both the houses of the Federal Parliament, the way to transform the board into an authority has been opened. After authentication by the president, the bill will take the form of an Act and come into force.
The House of Representatives passed the bill last July and sent it to the National Assembly. The National Assembly meeting held last Thursday passed the bill along with the report of the Legislative Management Committee.
Then, the proposal to pass the bill with suggestions from the National Assembly was passed by the majority of MPs during a meeting of the House of Representatives on Friday.
Surya Prasad Silwal, chairman of the Insurance Board, said that a new era will begin in the insurance sector of Nepal after the implementation of the new Insurance Act. "The Act of 2049 has not been able to cover the latest developments in the insurance sector," he said.
The then Finance Minister, Yuvraj Khatiwada, had registered the Insurance Bill in parliament four years ago to amend and consolidate laws related to the insurance sector. However, the discussion on the bill was halted for a long time after a dispute regarding the continuity of the terms of the chairman and directors of the insurance board surfaced. The parliamentarians submitted 85 amendments to the original bill while the finance committee amended 124 points and submitted it to the parliament.
In the original bill, there was a provision that all the responsibilities, including the management of staff of the board, would go to the proposed authority, which would also have a new chairman and director. The then president Chiranjeevi Chapagain opposed this provision. However, the amended bill has a provision to give continuity to the directors including the chairman of the current insurance board in the newly formed authority.
Similarly, the bill also has a provision to establish an insurance development fund to increase access to insurance in rural areas as well as among the poor and underprivileged.