United India Insurance Company plans to enter the West Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries to tap the potential in these regions due to a presence of a large India diaspora, a top company executive has said.
"UII is eyeing operations in Middle East and SAARC nations. Though this is in preliminary stage, a detailed survey has revealed rich potential due to a large Indian diaspora and business activities of Indian and foreign companies," the state-owned company's CMD Milind Kharat told PTI.
The operations could be through a joint venture or a branch or an agency model and is expected to be commissioned in a few months, Kharat, who was here to address a customers' meet, said.
He was confident that at least one centre would begin operations before March 2013, subject to clearances.
On the business quantum, he said UII has been maintaining 20 per cent growth this year despite the economic slowdown and a substantial drop in sales of motor vehicles in the country.
The company is targeting to surpass premium collections of Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) this fiscal, he said.
In the first half of the year (half year ended Sept 30 2012), premium collected touched Rs 4,757 crore (Rs 47.57 billion).
Last year, UII clocked Rs 8,179 crore (Rs 81.79 billion) as against Rs 6,376 crore (Rs 63.76 billion) in 2010-11.
He said three new insurance products are on the anvil, including two in motor insurance and one in health sector, all of which would be launched before this fiscal end, pending clearance from IRDA.
UII, with about 1,436 branches and 15 per cent of the market, is increasing its activities in rural pockets with focus on where lucrative potential could be tapped, he said.
The number of micro offices (single person managed) will be doubled from 350 at the beginning of this year to 700 by end of this fiscal, he said.
Kharat said total headcount stood at 17,000.
In 2011, UII recruited 400 officers in different disciplines and plans to recruit 600 personnel in clerical cadre by Mar 2013, he said.
He said the online insurance policy scheme launched 18 months ago has been gaining momentum and claimed over 17000 policies had been issued through this online route.
Khara also said UII maintains the highest profit earnings among PSU insurance companies in the country.
Business accrued was 12 per cent from Marine business, 47 from Motor Insurance, 30 from Health and the balance from Fire and others, he said.