You are currently viewing Insurance Company License

Insurance Company License


Insurance Company License: An Overview

In order to engage in the sale of insurance products, the initial step involves obtaining an insurance company license issued by the insurance commissioner of the respective state. The establishment of the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has introduced substantial transformations to the broader insurance sector. Furthermore, the IRDAI grants authorization for various categories of insurance enterprises, encompassing domains such as life insurance, fire insurance, and marine insurance. If insurance sales span multiple states, licenses must be acquired for each state where the business operations are conducted.

The process of registering an insurance company and attaining an insurance company license is governed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Registration of Indian Insurance Companies) (Seventh Amendment) Regulation, 2016.

Overview of Insurance Company Licensing

An insurance company license bestows the holder with the authority to pursue and sell insurance products. The state insurance commissioner oversees the issuance of this license and encompasses various insurance categories, such as life and disability, health, automotive, and worker’s compensation. Those operating within a single state and conducting insurance sales across neighbouring states must secure separate licenses for each respective state. While an established office is not initially necessary to obtain the license, it becomes a requirement once business operations commence.

Before 1999, the insurance sector in our country was governed by the Controller of Insurance under the framework of the Insurance Act of 1938. However, the establishment of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has brought about significant transformations in the insurance landscape. The advent of IRDA prompted a realization of the need for modernization and renewal in the realm of insurance company licensing, as the previous provisions had become outdated and incongruous.

It is imperative for all entities to obtain a Certificate from the authority before applying for any insurance company license. Different categories of insurance licenses, such as Life Insurance, Fire Insurance, and Marine Insurance, can be procured from the IRDA. However, it’s essential to note that the life insurance business cannot be combined with any other form of insurance business.

Qualification Requirements for Insurance Company License

Eligibility for obtaining an insurance company license encompasses the following entities:

  • Prescribed Class of Companies: Companies falling within the specified classification.
  • Recognized by IRDAI: Companies duly recognized by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
  • Registered Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): Limited Liability Partnerships registered under the LLP Act of 2008.
  • Former Insurance Provider: Entities that previously functioned as insurance providers before the enactment of the current legislation, with a provision for foreign ownership of up to 26% of the paid-up capital.
  • LLP Incorporation Naming: For LLPs, the registered name must include the term “insurance marketing firm.”

These eligibility criteria establish the scope of entities that may apply for an insurance company license, ensuring a comprehensive and regulated landscape within the insurance sector.

Documentation Required for Obtaining an Insurance Company License

Individuals seeking an insurance company license must initiate the process by submitting an application to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) using the form IRDAI/R1, which requests the issuance of a registration application.

The application should be supported by the following documents:

  • Proof of Company Formation:

Confirmation that the applicant is a company established under the Companies Act of 2013.

  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (MOA and AOA):

Certified copies of the MOA and AOA outlining the company’s organizational structure and operational framework.

  • Director Information:

Comprehensive details of directors, including names, addresses, and occupations.

  • Annual Report Documentation:

Certified copies of annual reports from Indian promoters and foreign investors for the previous five years.

A certified copy of the shareholding agreement between Indian promoters and foreign investors involved with the applicant.

  • Business Plan:

Submission of a five-year business plan that the company’s Board has approved of Directors.

These requisite documents collectively form the foundation of the application for an insurance company license, facilitating a comprehensive evaluation process by the regulatory authority.

Application for Registration of an Insurance Company License

Upon the acknowledgement of the application for demand, the applicant is required to proceed with submitting Form IRDAI/R2 for the issuance of a certificate of registration.

The application shall encompass the following particulars:

  • Type of Insurance:

Indication of whether the application pertains to Life Insurance, General Insurance, or Health Insurance.

  • Minimum Paid-Up Capital:

Presentation of evidence demonstrates that the settled paid-up capital equals or exceeds Rs. 100 crore for Life Insurance/General Insurance/Health Insurance or Rs. 200 crore for reinsurance business.

  • Equity Capital Affirmation:

Affidavits from Indian and foreign promoters affirming the sufficiency of paid-up equity capital after deducting preliminary expenses.

  • Shareholding Articulation:

Breakdown of shareholding, specifying the number of shares issued to promoters.

  • Foreign Investment Calculation:

Declaration from CEO, MD, and WTD of Indian and foreign promoters regarding foreign paid-up equity capital, in accordance with Indian Insurance Companies (Foreign Investment) Rules, 2015 and related regulations.

  • FIPB Approval:

Submission of FIPB approval of foreign direct investment (FDI) surpasses the 26% limit.

  • Agreements and Documents:

Certified copies of the published prospectus, MOUs, management agreements, shareholder agreements, or other relevant agreements.

  • Non-Refundable Fees:

Confirmation of non-refundable payment of fees amounting to Rs. five lakh.

  • Compliance Certificates:

Submission of PCA or PCS certificates verifying compliance with registration charges, equity share capital, and other regulatory requisites.

Upon receipt of the application, the regulatory control will assess the nature of insurance offerings, the level of actuarial and accounting expertise within the management, and the organizational structure. After a thorough evaluation, the authority will issue the certificate in Form IRDAI/R3 if satisfied. In cases where the provided information fails to meet the authority’s satisfaction, the application may be rejected.

Should rejection occur, the applicant will be informed within thirty days of the rejection order, accompanied by the grounds for refusal. The applicant has the option to appeal to the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) within thirty days of receiving the rejection notice.

Upon issuance of the insurance company license certificate, the licensee must initiate business operations within twelve months from the certification date.

Procedure for Registering and Obtaining an Insurance Company License

The process for registering and acquiring an insurance company license involves the following steps:

  • Application Filing:

A prospective applicant can submit an application for a Life Insurance, General Insurance, Health Insurance, or Reinsurance Business license.

  • Information Request:

Upon receipt of the application, the authority may seek additional details or clarifications related to the application’s content.

  • Approval and Further Application:

Upon satisfactory review, the authority may grant provisional approval. Subsequently, the candidate can submit a formal application using Form IRDAI/R2 to issue a certificate of registration.

  • Rejection and Communication:

In cases where the application does not meet the criteria, the authority can reject the application, communicating the decision in writing.

  • Appeal Process:

If dissatisfied with the rejection, the applicant can appeal to the Securities Appellate Tribunal within 30 days of receiving the rejection notice.

This registration procedure outlines the stages involved in seeking an insurance company license, offering transparency and a structured pathway for potential licensees.

Instances of Ineligibility for Filing an Application under IRDAI/R1

An applicant is ineligible to submit an application under IRDAI/R1 under the following circumstances:

  • Prior Rejection: If the authority has previously declined your registration request.
  • Withdrawal by Investors: If foreign or Indian investors have opted to discontinue their involvement in the project for any reason.
  • Recent Application History: During the two financial years preceding the date of the registration application requisition, including instances where the authority has previously dismissed or the applicant voluntarily withdrew an application.
  • Revocation of Registration: If the controlling authority has revoked your Certificate of Registration.
  • Name Criteria: In cases where the applicant’s name does not include the terms ‘insurance’ or ‘assurance’.

These circumstances outline the conditions under which an applicant may not be eligible to file an application under IRDAI/R1, ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the application process.

Suspension of Insurance Company License Certificate

The suspension of an insurance company license certificate may occur under the following circumstances:

  • Non-compliance with Financial Operations: Failure to adhere to provisions governing activities related to the assessment of assets and liabilities.
  • Insolvency or Liquidation: The insurer enters into liquidation or is declared insolvent.
  • Unauthorized Business Transfer or Amalgamation: Transfer or amalgamation of the insurer’s business or a specific business class without the authority’s approval.
  • Violation of Laws and Regulations: Default in complying with provisions of the Act, Rules, Regulations, or directives issued by the authority.
  • Unsettled Claims: Any claim remains unpaid for a period exceeding three months following a court judgment.
  • Non-Insurance Business Activity: Engaging in business activities other than insurance or prescribed activities.
  • Legal Compliance Failure: Failure to meet requirements outlined in the Companies Act of 2013, General Insurance Business Act of 1972, Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999, or Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002.
  • Non-Payment of Annual Fees: Please remit the annual fees stipulated under the relevant Act.

These circumstances delineate the situations that could lead to the suspension of an insurance company’s license, underscoring the significance of adhering to regulatory standards and legal obligations.

Renewal Process for Insurance Company Licenses in India

For the renewal of an insurance license, applicants are required to complete Form IRDA/R5. This application should be submitted prior to the conclusion of the calendar year. Along with the renewal application, the following documents must be furnished as evidence of the renewal:

License Renewal Fee:

A fee of 50,000 rupees for each category of insurance.

Gross Premiums Contribution:

One-fifth of one per cent of the entire gross premiums accumulated by the insurance firm during the year preceding the year the certificate renewal is sought, or an amount of Rs 5 crore, whichever is lower.

The authority will still entertain the application if the insurance company fails to complete the renewal process by December 31st of each year. However, a penalty of 10% of the total fee due will be imposed for delayed payments.

The renewal fee is to be remitted to the Reserve Bank of India into the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India account.

Duplicate Certificate Provision

Furthermore, the IRDAI offers the option of obtaining a duplicate certificate for the insurance company. To avail of this, the applicant must file an IRDA/R4 application and remit a fee of Rs 5,000. This provision ensures that companies can promptly replace a lost or damaged certificate.

Is Obtaining an IRDA License Necessary?

An IRDA license is deemed necessary for the following compelling reasons:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Securing an IRDA license ensures alignment with the evolving laws and regulations the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) sets forth.
  • Industry Oversight: The meticulous regulation of the insurance sector is imperative to safeguard the interests of consumers and uphold the integrity of the insurance industry within India.
  • Norms and Standards: The issuance of an IRDA license assures both the public and regulatory bodies that stringent norms and regulations are diligently adhered to, ensuring enhanced care and protection in insurance transactions.
  • Ongoing Oversight: The IRDAI undertakes a consistent review and vigilant oversight of the insurance sector, fostering its robust and well-regulated functioning.
  • Policyholder Protection: The IRDAI serves as a vital avenue for addressing policyholder grievances, functioning as an effective mechanism for grievance resolution.
  • Compliance Assurance: Acquiring an insurance license under IRDA confirms a company’s adherence to all stipulated insurance regulations.

Given these compelling reasons, obtaining an IRDA license is essential before establishing an insurance venture in India.

Who Holds Authority Over IRDA Licensing?

The pivotal regulatory authority responsible for overseeing insurance licensing under the IRDA is:

IRDAI – Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India.

The legal framework encompassing insurance licensing is governed by the following:

Any other pertinent regulations applicable to obtaining an Insurance License in India are also considered.

For expert guidance and seamless assistance in obtaining your Insurance Company License, look no further than Kanakkupillai. Our seasoned professionals specialize in navigating the intricacies of the regulatory landscape, ensuring a smooth and successful application process. Contact Kanakkupillai today to embark on your journey toward establishing a licensed insurance company in India. With our comprehensive support, you’ll be equipped to comply with regulations, uphold industry standards, and build a thriving insurance business. Reach out to Kanakkupillai now and turn your insurance aspirations into reality!


Kanakkupillai is your reliable partner for every step of your business journey in India. We offer reasonable and expert assistance to ensure legal compliance, covering business registration, tax compliance, accounting and bookkeeping, and intellectual property protection. Let us help you navigate the complex legal and regulatory requirements so you can focus on growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.