Dec 19, 2008

India - Terror-hit hotels may end up with claims worth Rs 500 cr

Mumbai's two terror-hit hotels, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, and the Oberoi-Trident, may generate a total insurance claims of Rs 500 crore, much less than what it was earlier expected earlier. PK Bhagat, deputy general manager, GIC Re, said though the final calculation about the total claim was yet to be made, the total amount may not go beyond Rs 500 crore as the hotels have already announced their plans to restart business. Bhagat was speaking at a conference on 'Growth Dynamics for Insurnace Industry: Embracing The Future' organised by the Asia Insurance Post in Mumbai.

GIC Re will administer the Terrorism Pool out of which the claims for the terror-hit hotels will be made. Bhagat revealed that currently the pool has a corpus of Rs 1,500 crore, including Rs 150 crore of re-insurance which has been done under the leadership of Glacier Re. "Officials from Galcier Re have already visited the hotels and completed the prelimnary survey to settle claims,'' he said.

Speaking to FE at the conference, Trevor Bull, managing director, Tata AIG Life InsuranceM said that the company's operations in India hacve progrssed as usual despite the fact that one of the partners of the company, American International Group is currently facing a tough time in the US.

"We have infused Rs 106 crore in our life insurnace joint ventue and are planning to invest more before Christimas. Both the partners are committed to the growth of the company which has sufficient solvency,'' he said. Trevour said that the company would be interested in foraying into the pension business when the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority will allow new players under New Pension Scheme (NPS). Addressing the connference, P Nandagopal, CEO, Reliance Life Insurance, said that domestic life insurers have established a more powrful distribution system than any other player in the financial sector, including banks and mutual funds. Distribution plays the most vital role in insurance industry,'' he said. He said that agency channels remain the lifeline of the life insurance industry. However, he lamented that despite the downturn, the industry did not get enough talents for the agency channel.

According to Nandagopal, bancassurance could not be a just channel, but startegy for insurers."We may not have many bancassurance partners, but we will utilise it as a strategy to grow our business,'' he said.

Sudip Mukhopadhyay, country head , medical and health insurance, Swiss Re, India, pointed out that only 2% of the population had health insurance policies. "Insurance companies have become unnecessarily competitive as the market is vast enough accomodate all,'' he said.

Highlighting the current trends in India, he said that 80% of the expenses relating to healthcare, not paid by the policy, was borne by the policy holder.

"Even in BRIC countries, the government spend on healthcare is much higher than that of India,'' he said.

No comments: