To tap the Indian diaspora, public sector general insurers are considering expanding their operations to other countries in the next financial year. Given the large number of Indians and Indian businesses in South-east Asia, West Asia and Africa, these regions are emerging as preferred destinations.
The four general insurers New India Assurance, United India Insurance, Oriental Insurance and National Insurance are considering setting up more international centres. A K Saxena, chairman and managing director, Oriental Insurance, said the company was already present in Dubai, Kuwait and Nepal. He added it was the only Indian company to have operations in Qatar. . We will identify profitable markets and expand operations he said. Oriental Insurance would partner a proposed reinsurance company in Nepal, subject to the government and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s approvals. The company’s current equity in the insurance pool in Nepal would be transferred to the new reinsurance company. The insurance pool in Nepal was created to provide reinsurance cover against damages resulting from terror activities.
G Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of New India Assurance, said the company was keen to extend operations to Canada, Qatar and Myanmar. We operate through 27 offices across the globe. We were looking very closely at these three additional areas to start operations, he said, adding New India Assurance would also explore opportunities across Africa. If required, the company might collaborate with others to expand operations in that region, he said.
IN THE PIPELINE
- Oriental Insurance to hold stake in proposed reinsurance firm in Nepal
- New India is looking to expand in Canada, Qatar and Myanmar
- United India Assurance is looking at South East Asia and Middle East
- LIC, GIC Re, four PSU general insurers hold stake in Kenyan Insurance JV
While New India Assurance has operations in Nigeria, it is also a partner in Kenindia Assurance Company, a joint-venture insurance company in Kenya that offers life, non-life and health insurance products. General Insurance Corporation of India and Life Insurance Corporation of India also hold stakes in this venture.
Next financial year, United India Assurance would seek to expand in South-east Asia and West Asia. Chairman and Managing Director Milind Kharat said,We have plans to expand abroad. We will expand into areas where business opportunities are available. Areas like Sri Lanka, for example, would be a good choice for expansion, as there are several Indian businesses based there.
Others have also joined the bandwagon. National Insurance, which has one international office, plans to expand into other areas. General Insurance Corporation of India would consider expanding abroad. Recently, A K Roy, chairman and managing director, had said the company would consider growing in international locations from 2013-14.
Company sources said there was a proposal to form a venture between the four state-owned general insurers to expand in Africa. Officials said they were studying the African model.