Generate required level of awareness about insurance benefits to poor: Mukherjee

Mumbai, Sep 1 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday asked the insurance companies to create awareness among the poor and vulnerable section of the society especially the people living in rural areas so that they can avail the benefits of financial services.

Addressing a large gathering of the representatives of the insurance companies in a function organized by Assocham on the occasion of Global Insurance Summit here today, Mukherjee said that the poor people must be informed about the benefits of the life insurance and insurance against natural calamities.

"One of the important challenges before the insurance industry today is to generate the required level of awareness about the benefits of insurance to our people particularly living in semi-urban and rural areas. It should be our endeavour to take all necessary steps to ensure the reach of insurance to masses," said Mukherjee.

"As for meeting their rural and social obligation, the insurance companies are now increasingly tapping the semi-urban and rural areas to spread the message of protection of life and property through insurance cover," he added.

The Finance Minister said the Central Government has also introduced many special products aimed at the rural markets like Jan Shree Bima Yojana, Universal Health Insurance Scheme, Aam Admi Bima Yojana, Crop Insurance, etc. for the benefit of poor and needy populace in the country.

Mukherjee further said one of the main objectives of promoting financial inclusion packages is to economically empower those sections of society which are otherwise denied access to financial services, by providing banking and credit services thereby focusing on bridging the rural credit gap.

"Lack of protective elements may not serve the objective of promoting financial inclusion packages as the targeted section may fall back into the clutches of poverty in the event of unforeseen contingencies. Hence, to provide a hedge against these unforeseen risks, popularization of micro insurance is one of the essential ingredients of financial inclusion package," said Mukherjee.

Mukherjee asked Life Insurance Corporation to increase its contribution to two percent of GDP from its present contribution of 1.84 percent of GDP.

He also asked the insurance companies to follow the system of benchmarking, introduce new insurance products, reduce the premium of policies and increase the visibility of the different insurance policies and products through print and electronic media, seminars and discussions etc.

Mukherjee further said the Government has implemented the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana for the benefit of poor people in the country. Many states have adopted this scheme.

"However, the health insurance still covers a very miniscule population of this country. The insurers have to ensure further penetration of the health insurance in this country. Simultaneously, there is a need to concentrate that the premiums are affordable for the insured," he added.

Assocham President Swati Piramal, IRDA Chairman T.S. Vijayan, LIC Chairman and Chairman of V.N. Dhoot and Videocon were also present on this occasion among others. (ANI)

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