With focus on retail, New India strategises foray in rural market
Mar 16 2014
“The corporate business has always been dominant for New India Assurance. However, the corporate business is now saturated, with industrial expansion going slow. Our focus is now on the under-penetrated retail segment,” said G Srinivasan, chairman and MD of New India Assurance.
The company has opened 1,500 micro offices in tier-III and IV towns. The number of agents recruited to promote retail insurance will touch one lakh by December 2015. Growth in the retail segment will also see the insurer moving towards smaller towns and villages.
Under the newly introduced concept of ‘insurance on wheels’, mobile vans will promote as well as issue policies to customers in the rural areas. The company has also launched a ‘package policy’ keeping the rural customer in mind.
The insurer expects a 15 per cent premium growth this year with global premium touching Rs 14,500 crore and Rs 16,500 crore next fiscal. Health insurance premiums have been growing at a rate of 22 per cent to touch Rs 3,500 crore. The claims ratio is expected to drop to 95 per cent this year from 103 per cent in 2012-13. The aim is to bring it down to 88-90 per cent in 2014-15.
However, in motor insurance, especially in commercial vehicles, the loss ratio is as high as 130-140 per cent. The company is awaiting the final decision from IRDA on the increase of premiums in third-party insurance.
New India is as well expanding its presence to new overseas markets. It has received necessary approvals in Myanmar and will start operations in a couple of months. “The company had a significant presence in the market until the insurance sector was nationalised. Now the insurance sector in Myanmar has been opened up,” said Srinivasan.
New India is also seeking approval for operations in Qatar and Canada. Operations in 22 countries account for 20 per cent of the global premium of the organisation.