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ULIPs to charge for fund switching
Following the new IRDA regulations on unit-linked plans, some life insurance companies have started levying fund switching charges in their new ULIPs. From free switches prior to the new regulations, companies now charge fees varying from Rs 50-250, for every switch made by customers.

Faced with a squeeze on their margins, post the IRDA regulations, life insurers are cutting back on some of the value added services offered to their customers. New regulations Previously, the initial upfront charges levied by life insurance companies used to take care of these expenses. Now with the new IRDA regulations, there is no room to offer these services free of cost, said an official with another company.

Birla Sun Life has also started charging for fund switches from September 1. We currently charge Rs 50 per request for premium re-direction, fund switch and partial withdrawal¯, the product brochure of the company's newly launched plan Classic endowment' said.

According to industry officials, around 3-5 per cent of the policy holders exercise the fund switching option.

More switches happen when there is a major movement in the equity markets.

When policy holders expect the stock markets to move up, they shift funds from debt oriented funds to equity funds. In contrast, when they feel that the equity markets have reached their peak, they lock their gains and shift their funds from equity to debt, said an official with one of the companies  
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Source : http://www.blonnet.com
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