Magma-HDI plans comprehensive non-life cover to expand India biz

Written by Raj Kumar Ray | Saikat Neogi | Updated: Oct 23 2012, 09:17am hrs
Germany's third-largest insurer HDI-Gerling will help its Indian partner, Magma, to frame the country's first comprehensive non-life product that will cover home, motor and health, as part of a strategy to beat competition, the Indian CEO, Swaraj Krishnan, said recently. Though Magma-HDI is a late entrant in Indias fiercely competitive general insurance industry, the company plans to grow its premium income to R200 crore by March 2014 from a targeted R70-80 crore this fiscal, Krishnan said.

Although the company flagged off its operations with just motor insurance, Krishnan said, We have requested the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) to grant approval for tariff products fire, industrial liability, clinical trial, director and officers liability. We have also filed for the standard mediclaim product.

He added: We are also planning to bring in a comprehensive cover for home, health and motor own damage. We hope to launch it in six months subject to Irda's nod. Though the comprehensive policy may come slightly expensive than stand-alone products, Krishnan said you can have peace of mind and ease of use.

HDI-Gerling, which is part of the Talanx Group operating in 130 countries with premium income of 23.7 billion euro as in 2011, has been offering comprehensive risk management designed to prevent losses and damages. It wants to piggy-back on Magma's 200 odd branches to tap India's largely uncovered semi-urban and rural areas.

We will target owners of vehicles, which are 3-7 years old. Most of the older vehicles, which are sold off in metros, move out to smaller cities. And that's where Magma has a stronghold, Krishnan said. In fact, the penetration on non-life insurance is the country is abysmally low at 0.4%. Insurance penetration is measured as ratio of premium to GDP.

While the company aims to capitalise on Magma's branch network, it plans to hire agents across India to sell its products. Magma has an agreement with HDI to let the German partner raise its stake to 49% from the current 26% as soon as Parliament passes the insurance Bill.

Premium income for 25 non-life insurers rose 23% to R58,344 crore in the last financial year and segment-wise, health and motor insurance have grown significantly.

Premium collection from third-party insurance in motor a mandatory cover rose more than 50% as the regulator revised the rates for two consecutive years and even premium from own damage increased 18% due to higher automobile sales, especially commercial vehicles. However, incurred claims ratio in motor insurance was around 94% in 2010-11, which remains a major underwriting concern for general insurers.