Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Narendra Modi, other top politicians keep faith with LIC for life insurance cover

Big-wigs of Indian politics appear to have full faith in good old state-run insurer LIC when it comes to taking insurance cover for their life while a few others have started trying private players as well. High-profile politicians who have taken policies of Life Insurance Corporation of India, the dominant India firm, include BJP PrimeMinisterial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress' Ajay Maken, and Naveen Jindal, among others, according to an analysis of their poll affidavits. Hundreds of poll contestants have life insurance policies with LIC alone.
Insurance penetration is a major issue in the country where there are just about 35 crore policies in force out of a total population of 120 crore. With private companies strongly coming into the picture in past few years, many politicians have taken life covers in both LIC and private players. For instance, JD(U) candidate from Paschim Champaran Prakash Jha has policies in LIC and Max Life Insurance. BSP's Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali and TMC's Sudip Bandyopadhyay have also taken policies in LIC, Kotak Life and Max. His party's Darjeeling candidate Baichung Bhutia has gone for LIC, Max Life and Bajaj Allianz.
Typically, insurance policy covers (sum assured) range from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakh in rare cases. Analysis of poll affidavits show that while in a majority of cases politicians have regular premium paying policies, some have have opted for single premium products. Interestingly, some political heavyweights like L K Advani, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sonia Gandhi have not listed any insurance policy in their poll affidavits. While it can be argued that 86-year-old Advani may not get an insurance cover citing his advanced age, the younger lot like 43-year-old Scindia, one of the wealthiest ministers, is also among those who have not mentioned any life cover in their affidavits. None of his family's immediate members, including wife Priyadarshini, son Mahanaaryaman and daughter Ananya Raje, have life insurance listed in the affidavit.
Among emerging political leaders, 45-year-old Arvind Kejriwal has not listed any insurance policy in either his name nor his wife Sunita's.27-year-old Rakhi Birla of Aam Aadmi Party, 32-year-old Chirag Kumar Paswan (son of Ram Vilas Paswan) of Lok Janhit Party, 41-year-old Jyoti Mirdha (and her husband Narendra) are among scores of Lok Sabha contestants who have not listed any policies in their election affidavits.

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