Insurance gets two new players

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 12:47 hrs

The insurance sector has two new entrants. Religare Health Insurance has begun as a standalone health insurance player, while non-banking financial company Magma Fincorp has entered the general insurance business through a joint venture with HDI Gerling, a leading German insurer. Magma HDI General Insurance (MHDI) will be the new entity.

Sanjay Chamria, chairman of MHDI, said the new company would leverage the partners' strengths to offer customised services. "Over 80 per cent of Magma's 240 branches are located in the semi-urban and rural areas, generally underserved for insurance products," he noted. The launch of a general insurance business would enable Magma, said company officials, to offer end to end solutions to customers by financing the purchase of cars, tractors, commercial vehicles or construction equipment, as well as providing insurance to the asset purchased.

Swaraj Krishnan, CEO of Magma HDI, said the company would launch operations in 39 locations in the first year and recruit about 500 people.

It would be the first private general insurance company to be headquartered in eastern India, in Kolkata.

As for Religare Health Insurance, whose head office is Delhi, it had actually initiated operations this July; only the formal launch was today. It is already operating out of 134 centres, servicing 34,000 people and has collected Rs 14 crore of premium in these three months. The shareholders comprise Religare Enterprises Ltd, Union Bank of India and Corporation Bank. It would use the distribution network of these banks for its products.

Though it presently only one product, 'Care', for group and retail customers, Anuj Gulati, managing director, says they would launch products for critical illness and foreign student travel medical insurance. A policy for HIV/AIDS patients was also being actively worked on, he said.

'Care' offers a sum assured up to Rs 60 lakh, coming bundled with an annual health check facility and with a daily allowance to cover incidental expenses during hospitalisation.The company has a network of 1,800 hospitals to choose from for customers and will handle claims in-house, without third party administrators.

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