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Bajaj Allianz in retail thrust

September 23, 2003 11:31 IST

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company intends to focus on retail sales with competition hotting up in the corporate side.

With more than 10 insurers targeting a single corporate, the latter are playing one company against another, demanding the best possible rates on the non-tariff business.

Premium rates have been slashed on the non-tariff corporate business as some of the private and public insurers aim to get a portion of the stagnant corporate pie.

"We are looking at such accounts where we cannot make money," said Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company CEO Sam Ghosh.

Today, about 11-12 per cent of total premium comes from group business of Bajaj Auto and from Allianz's global clients including Siemens, Bayers and other German majors having subsidiaries in the country.

The hardening competition in the corporate business segment and squeeze on margins, Bajaj Allianz intends to focus more on the small-and-medium enterprises and retail segments.

"This will help us balance our portfolio and broadbase the risk profile," said Ghosh. Sixty per cent of its business will come from the retail side and 40 per cent from corporate sales.

Ghosh admitted that when focusing on retail sales, one has to look at big volumes as margins are low.

"Retail has purely become a commodity business, with the basic idea being to offer packaged products," he added.

At the same time, Bajaj Allianz is looking at its bottomline rather than growing its topline. It has targeted a 30 per cent growth in net profit this year, after having posted Rs 9.6 crore (Rs 96 million) profit in the financial year ended March 2003.

This is as against a net loss of Rs 9.6 crore in the first year (2001-02). With this, Bajaj Allianz is aiming for a return on equity (RoE) to shareholders at 14 per cent in the current fiscal. Last year, the RoE stood at nine per cent, against negative nine per cent in

2001-02.

According to the latest Irda figures, Bajaj Allianz has posted a total premium income of Rs 160.88 crore (Rs billion) in the current financial year, reflecting nearly 85 per cent growth against the corresponding period last year.

In July, Bajaj Allianz sold policies worth Rs 41.83 crore (Rs 418.3 million). Among the private sector players, it has the highest market share of 2.85 per cent, followed by ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company at 2.79 per cent.
Freny Patel in Mumbai