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Pvt insurance staffers to be public servants!

Jasim Uddin Haroon | January 09, 2019 00:00:00

A move is well under way to make private insurance employees' as "public servants" with intent to bring them under a legal framework.

The people working at the Financial Institutions Division under the Ministry of Finance are examining the issue.

The division has so far met twice on the matter with the latest one being chaired by its additional secretary Ajit Kumar Paul.

The move came as the national anti-graft watchdog wants to bring the employees working with key financial institutions under a legal framework.

Earlier, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) recommended that the cabinet division put the new provision in the Insurance Act 2010.

The Banking Companies Act 1991 has also similar provisions.

Section 110 of the Act says "chairmen, directors, auditors, liquidators, managers and other officers and employees of a banking company shall be deemed public servants in the sense this term is used in section 21 of the Penal Code 1860 (Act XLV of 1860)."

According to the penal code, public servants are defined to bring them under law so that any misdeed by them can be punished by the proper authorities.

The last inter-ministerial meeting held on November 26 encountered a mixed reaction to the issue.

Some attendees wanted that the insurance people be deemed as public servants, but many were not in favour of the proposed provision.

India and Sri Lanka have no such provision, they argued.

Bibekananda Saha, general manager at Sadharan Bima Corporation, said such a definition is not required as India and Sri Lanka have no such system.

The insurance authorities have adequate power to punish those found guilty, he maintained.

Md Imam Shaheen, secretary general at the Bangladesh Insurance Forum, a group of chief executive officers (CEOs) working in the sector, said, "It should be discussed in details before announcing insurance employees as public servants."

"We need to ensure our status before [making] such an announcement," he told the FE.

Mr Imam, also managing director and CEO at the privately-owned Asia Insurance Ltd, said a huge number of people are involved in the industry and a major part comprises agents who do the business countrywide.

An estimated 82,000 people are working for both life and non-life insurance companies.

Of them, more than 38,000 are involved as "agents" with 78 insurance firms.

Currently, Bangladesh has some 32 life and 46 non-life insurance companies.


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