Shriram Life Insurance offers pension plan to woo Muslims

Tags: News
Shriram Life Insurance is launching pension plan to woo Muslim investors and to offer alternative investment options to its customers. The insurer’s new pension plan, to be launc­hed next week, will also offer a Shariah-compliant option. The company has already received approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda).

Shariah-compliant funds do not invest in stocks of the companies that are in the business of gambling, alcohol, financial services, porn­ography, tobacco, certain categories of media and advertising, pork, trading of gold and silver as cash on deferred basis.

“A lot of innovation and thinking needs to be put in for designing innovative covers. We plan to bring in more risk insurance plans. Indian market is at a very nascent stage. Not many risk insurance products are available in the country,” said Gerhard Joubert, chief executive officer (new channel), Shriram Life Insurance. The company is looking at completing its product portfolio and set up infrastructure this year. Shriram Life plans to launch more risk insurance products like disability insurance and product for HIV+ people. The company is also planning to enter health insurance market.

Shriram Life Insurance, which was focused only on the customer base of its promoters in South India, is now looking at other markets for expansion and increasing its footprints in the rest of the country.

Shriram Life Insurance will be focusing more on tier II and tier III cities and expects 85 per cent of its new business premium from smaller towns. The company is opening up five new branches every month. By the end of the year, the insurer will have a total of 43 branches.

The company has allocated a budget of Rs 5 crore for advertisements and promotions. “Advertising space is too cluttered right now. We will not have above-the-line campaign (TV, radio and print advertisement). We will engage in below-the-line campaigns to spr­ead awareness about the brand which include organising events, putting up hoardings and so on,” said Joubert. The company is also looking at cashing in on its foreign partner Sanlam’s reputation and giving Sanlam more prominence in brand promotion.

Shriram Life, which has a capital base of Rs 125 crore, does not plan to make any new capital infusion to fund its expansion plans. “We will use our profit to expand. We do not intend to infuse fresh capital for this year,” said Gerhard Joubert.

Meanwhile, South Afri­ca-based Sanlam Group, which holds 26 per cent stake in Shriram Life Insurance, is looking at increasing its stake in the company to 49 per cent as soon as the Indian government raises the FDI cap in the sector. “We see moves towards lifting FDI ceiling from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, which we hope is imminent,” said Joubert.

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