PSU general insurers keenly watching US-Iran thaw

MUMBAI: The ongoing diplomatic efforts to normalise the frozen ties between the USand Iran are being watched keenly by the state-run general insurers, who are currently wary of providing cover to companies dealing with Iranian oil imports. 

"We are closely watching the events. Any kind of positive outcome will be favourable for the industry," a top official of New India Assurance told PTI over the weekend. 

Domestic general 
insurance companies are reluctant to provide insurance cover to refiners processing Iranian crude due to sanctions imposed by United Nations and the European Union, which has made it difficult to find reinsurance in European markets. 

"We are restricted our exposure to refineries which are processing Iranian crude due to lack of reinsurance cover. Our exposure to public firms dealing with Iranian crude will not be more than Rs 500 crore," the official said. 

Last month, US President 
Barack Obama said he spoke to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over the phone, the first such communication between the heads of the two nations since the 1979 Iranian revolution. 

Another official from a public sector insurer said the government proposal to set up an energy pool to provide insurance cover for refineries using Iranian crude will provide some kind of breather to general insurance companies. 

The government has proposed a Rs 2,000-crore Indian Energy Insurance Pool (IEIP) to provide cover to refineries processing Iranian oil.