Insurance Australia Group (IAG), the foreign joint venture partner in SBI General Insurance, has started talks with the State Bank of India (SBI) for hiking its stakes to 49 percent, said a senior company official Monday.
He said the company is targeting 50 percent growth next fiscal over the current year’s expected premium of Rs.1,600 crore.
“Talks with State Bank of India have commenced on increasing the stakes in the company. The shareholder’s agreement provide for increasing stakes in the company,” IAG’s Deputy CEO Steve Hollow told reporters.
The Australian group is also waiting for parliament’s approval to the insurance law that allows foreign holding up to 49 percent, he said.
The central government recently passed the insurance ordinance allowing increasing the foreign equity holdings up to 49 percent. However the overseas partners in the Indian insurance companies are waiting for parliamentary approval for the law before committing their money.
The SBI holds 76 percent stake in SBI General Insurance while IAG holds 26 percent.
To a question, Hollow said the company is hoping to close this fiscal with a premium of Rs.1,600 crore.
As to the target for next fiscal, he said it is 50 percent of current year’s premium.
Queried about the manner in which the ambitious target would be achieved, he said major portion would come from the motor insurance portfolio.
He said SBI General Insurance would also grow its marine cargo (transit insurance), and liability portfolios.
According to him, the company would also increase the number of foot soldiers (individual agents) from the current 6,000 to 15,000 which in turn would grow the business.
The company would also rope in other SBI’s banking subsidiaries for selling its products.
On the underwriting performance, Hollow said the company is posting underwriting loss or simply put, the premium income minus claims outgo.
He said the company is hoping to break-even at the underwriting level next year.