Regulator ‘reservations’ on Stan Life India deal

Edinburgh-based insurance and investment giant Standard Life said India’s insurance watchdog had “expressed reservations” about accepting the current terms for the purchase of Max Life Insurance by Standard Life’s Indian joint venture. 

The joint venture, HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co (HDFC Life), agreed in August to buy India’s Max Life Insurance in an all-stock deal to create India’s leading private life insurer valued at nearly $10 billion, Reuters reported.

Standard Life said that Indian mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC), which owns a majority of HDFC Life, believes the scheme of arrangement submitted to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) complied with all applicable laws.

HDFC Life and Max Life Insurance Company now propose to make suitable representations to the regulator, Standard Life said.

The current terms of the deal involve Max Life being merged into its parent company Max Financial Services which in turn would combine its entire life insurance business with HDFC Life, Reuters reported.

The Edinburgh company said in a statement: “Standard Life plc notes the announcement today by Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC) with reference to the scheme of amalgamation proposed by HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited  (HDFC Life) involving HDFC Life, Max Life Insurance Company Limited (MLIC), Max Financial Services Limited, and Max India Ltd.

“An application was filed by MLIC and HDFC Life seeking the in-principle approval of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for the above-mentioned scheme on September 21, 2016.

“Standard Life notes the announcement by HDFC that IRDAI has expressed reservations regarding accepting the scheme of amalgamation in its current form.

“Standard Life further notes that HDFC Life believes that the scheme of arrangement as submitted to the IRDAI is in compliance with all applicable laws and that HDFC Life and MLIC propose to make suitable representations to IRDAI.”