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Rediff.com  » Business » LIC mulls health insurance arm with foreign partner

LIC mulls health insurance arm with foreign partner

November 28, 2005 11:16 IST

The Life Insurance Corporation of India is planning to start a separate subsidiary for health insurance products in joint venture, possibly with a foreign partner.

Announcing this in Hyderabad on Saturday, A K Shukla, chairman, LIC India, said the corporation was looking for a partner with capabilities of processing disease-related demographic profiles and also having the crucial information base that helps in developing health insurance products for the country.

"We find such companies in Europe and US," he told the media but said that they were yet to identify a partner.

Without a regulator, health insurance was a very risky business as pricing of products would be crucial, he said adding to operate in health sector was difficult as there was no standardisation of cost for the treatment of a particular ailment as different hospitals charge differently. The corporation was awaiting the final outcome of Irda's exercise for the health insurance sector to go ahead with its plans, he said.

Shukla also announced that the LIC board had decided to open a special cell in the corporate office for micro financing sector, which, according to him, also forms part of its corporate responsibility.

The micro insurance products would cover the amount ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000, to be used by economically backward sections of society. He was addressing the media after inaugurating a zonal training centre in Hyderabad.

LIC was also in touch with state governments to introduce insurance services for senior citizens, he said. At present, LIC had identified 70 properties valued approximately at Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) for taking up real estate business.

The corporation could either develop commercial complexes, or housing for policy-holders or simply sell the property. It was yet to take a decision in this regard, Shukla said in response to a question.

According to Shukla, the corporation would recruit 3,000 development officers across the country in the next one year.

"Our business has grown more after the insurance sector opened up five years ago. Our first premium growth this year touched 63 per cent as compared to 48 per cent last year. Our market share in policies rose to 89 per cent from 88 per cent last year, and 75 per cent from 74 per cent in premiums," he said, ruling out any adverse impact on LIC's business from market competition.
BS Regional Bureau in Hyderabad