French reinsurance major, Axa Re is all set to open a branch in the country after it received the second level of regulatory clearances or R2 from the Irdai. This is for the first time that the Paris-based insurance multinational will have a re-insurance branch in any part of the world. Axa is already present in the country in form-two insurance joint ventures with Bharti-Bharti Axa Life and Bharti Axa General Insurance. The company is planning to complete its capital infusion plans in one month to receive the final round of regulatory clearances or R3 and begin underwriting business in the country by July. “India is a matter of high priority for Axa Re. We are impressed with the country’s economic development and policy thrust of the NDA government and would like to expand our existing business in the country,” a company source from Paris told PTI.
“We know the government is trying to develop India as global reinsurance hub and we would like to be a catalyst in this government effort,” he said. Axa Re already has India exposure on an offshore business and has an existing portfolio of USD 100-150 million focused on life and health. “With a direct branch in the country, we will expand our portfolio into other general insurance segments of the country,” the source said. The company has already firmed up a team of 15 professionals under the leadership of Ankur Nijhawan, who was earlier heading Germany major Hannover Re’s Indian operations. Almost all the top ten global reinsurance majors like Munich Re, Swiss Re and Lloyd’s have already kicked off their branch operations in the country in the last couple of months.