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IRDA TO MAKE ON-LINE EXAMS MANDATORY FOR INSURANCE AGENTS
Hyderabad, The Economic Times

Individuals aspiring to become insurance agents will have to write the qualifying exam on-line. The insurance regulator IRDA is set to scrap the present system of manual exams for prospective insurance agents to curb malpractices, said a senior official.

IRDA's exam to select insurance agents is conducted by the Insurance Institute of India (III) in 325 centres across the country. Nearly 7-10 lakh individuals write the exam every year. Nearly half of them are selected and given a license to operate as agents.

However, the regulator has been flooded with complaints on malpractices in off-line exams, with allegations of license being given for a price. Last year, the IRDA cancelled a clutch of licenses following such complaints.

To streamline online exams, the Insurance Institute of India is being assisted by the NSEiT, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Stock Exchange. By October this year, 100 centres will have online instead of manual exams. The remaining 225 centres will also shift to on-line exams eventually.

“We want to improve the quality of exams and the procedure for licensing of insurance agents as we reckon that well qualified agents are needed to curb mis-selling of insurance products, A Giridhar Executive Director, IRDA said.

India has around 35 lakh licensed insurance agents to distribute various products offered by insurers. There are 42 insurers with assets under management of over Rs 9 lakh crore.