Corporate Governance Regulations for Insurers (2024)


  • Recently, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has introduced new corporate governance rules to prevent conflicts of interest in key management roles and to ensure that no individual holds multiple significant positions.

Corporate Governance

  • It refers to the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a company is guided and controlled.
  • It aims to ensure that the company operates fairly and responsibly, safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders.
  • It is a critical aspect that ensures transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct within companies.
  • It defines the relationship between the Board of Directors, senior management, and shareholders.
  • It is a system of financial and other controls within a corporate entity.
  • Robust corporate governance is essential for sustainable growth, investor confidence, and long-term success.
Historical Context of Corporate Governance

– Corporate governance is not a new concept in India.

– As far back as the 3rd century BC, Chanakya elaborated on the duties of a king, which align with modern corporate governance principles.

– These duties included:

1. Raksha: Protecting shareholders’ wealth.

2. Vriddhi: Increasing income through proper asset utilisation.

3. Palana: Maintaining profitability.

4. Yogakshema: Safeguarding shareholders’ interests.

Regulatory Framework

  • India has a well-defined regulatory framework for corporate governance. Key institutions include the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), and the Companies Act, 2013.

Corporate Governance for Insurers Regulations, 2024 of IRDAI

  • These regulations aim to enhance governance structures within insurance companies to safeguard the interests of stakeholders, including policyholders.
  • IRDAI’s Role: The IRDAI outlines the governance responsibilities of the Board in managing insurance functions through various regulations.
  • These comprehensive guidelines supplement provisions of the Companies Act, of 1956, the Insurance Act, of 1938, and other relevant laws.

Key Provisions

  • The regulations focus on promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical practices in the insurance sector.
  • Objective: The regulations aim to provide a robust governance structure for insurers by focusing on the responsibilities and functions of the board and management, ensuring sound and prudent principles and practices while meeting stakeholder expectations, especially policyholders.
  • Applicability: These guidelines apply to all insurers, including Foreign Reinsurance Branches and Insurance Intermediaries regulated by the IRDAI. They came into force on April 1, 2024, and will be reviewed every three years.
  • Governance Structure: The regulations cover various aspects of corporate governance, including:
  • Appointment of directors, key management persons, and statutory auditors.
  • Powers and roles of the board of directors: To promote checks and balances, it is good practice for the chair of the board to be a non-executive board member and not serve as chair of any board committee.
  • Other governance aspects such as disclosure, reporting to IRDAI, and environmental, social, and governance considerations.
  • Four Fundamental Keystones
  • Fairness: Ensuring fair treatment of all stakeholders.
  • Transparency: Providing clear and accurate information to stakeholders.
  • Accountability: Holding management accountable for their actions.
  • Responsibility: Fulfilling obligations toward shareholders and society.
  • Conflict of Interest: The regulations prohibit conflicts of interest in key management positions. Holding both business and control functions by a single key management person or holding multiple control positions by one individual is forbidden.
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

– It was constituted in 1999 as an autonomous body after the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee report to regulate and develop the insurance industry.

– It was incorporated as a Statutory Body in 2000, after the passing of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, of 1999.

– It has the power to frame regulations under Section 114A of the Insurance Act, of 1938.

– It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.


– To protect the interests of the policyholder and regulate the insurance industry.

– It has framed regulations ranging from registration of companies for carrying on insurance business to protection of policyholders’ interests.

Benefits of Corporate Governance

  • Greater Accountability: Improved accountability to shareholders.
  • Lower Cost of Capital: Good governance attracts investors and reduces capital costs.
  • Higher Firm Valuation: Well-governed companies tend to have higher valuations.
  • Objectivity and Transparency: Decision-making processes become more objective and transparent.
  • Effective Compliance: Ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and ethical business conduct.

Issues/Obstacles and Solutions

  • Selection Procedure and Term of Board Members: It is a significant challenge for good corporate governance. Ensuring that qualified and independent directors are appointed is crucial.
  • The tenure of board members impacts governance. Striking a balance between continuity and fresh perspectives is essential.
  • Performance Evaluation of Directors: Regular evaluation of directors’ performance is essential. However, many companies struggle with effective evaluation mechanisms.
  • Evaluating directors based on their contributions, independence, and adherence to governance principles is critical.
  • Independence of Directors: Independence is vital for effective governance. Ensuring that independent directors maintain their autonomy and act in the best interest of the company is challenging.
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest and undue influence from promoters or dominant shareholders is crucial.
  • Transparency and Data Protection: Transparency in financial reporting, disclosures, and decision-making processes are essential. However, achieving transparency remains a challenge.
  • Balancing transparency with data protection and confidentiality is a delicate task.
  • Business Structure and Internal Conflicts: Companies with complex structures (such as conglomerates) face challenges in managing internal conflicts and ensuring alignment across subsidiaries.
  • Addressing conflicts of interest between different stakeholders (shareholders, management, employees, etc.) is critical.
  • Founder/Promoter’s Role: Balancing the influence of founders or promoters with the need for independent decision-making is a challenge.
  • Ensuring that the founder’s vision aligns with the company’s long-term interests is crucial.
  • Regulatory Oversight and Multiplicity of Regulators: Effective regulatory oversight is necessary to enforce governance norms. However, coordinating among multiple regulators can be complex.
  • Harmonising regulations across different sectors and ensuring consistent enforcement is a challenge.
  • Linkage of Good Governance to Good Performance: Demonstrating the positive impact of good governance on business performance remains a challenge.
  • Companies need to communicate how strong governance practices contribute to sustainable growth and shareholder value.


  • The Corporate Governance for Insurers Regulations, 2024 emphasises transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour within insurance companies, ultimately benefiting all stakeholders.
  • These regulations play a crucial role in ensuring the long-term sustainability and trustworthiness of the insurance industry in India.