Bharti Axa General resets its business focus on villages

October 8th, 2009 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Oct 8 (IANS) Private non-life insurer Bharti Axa General Insurance Company Ltd has decided to focus on personal lines of business, targeting people in rural and semi-urban areas, instead of its earlier plan of pitching for corporate business.
The company is a 74:26 joint venture between telecom major Bharti and the French group Axa.

“The rate war that is raging in the corporate business is very severe and is loss making. We have decided to look at other lines of business where the potential is high than the corporate accounts,” Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, chief executive officer, told IANS after the launch of a new health insurance policy.

“One can achieve growth, but at what cost is the question? We are focussed on profitable growth. We may be small but will be profitable.”

Though Bharti Axa General had projected to infuse a total equity of Rs.645 crore over five-year period, the revised business focus may bring that amount down.

Ananthanarayanan said the company is also conscious of its fixed costs and have shifted some of its branches to smaller premises to cut the rental outgo.

“With the rent being low in semi-urban areas, we will be able to open more branches to expand our business,” he said.

According to him, the company will be pitching its tent in semi-urban and rural areas and distribute its products through cooperative banks, non-governmental organisations, self help groups (SHG) and others.

Though there is competition in the health insurance space from other non-life players as well as from pure play health insurers and life insurers, Ananthanarayanan said: “The market is huge as the uninsured population is high. In respect of other business, the premium rates are so low and underwriting the risk is not profitable.”

Earlier, launching Smart Health-High Deductibles Insurance Policy - a top up cover to an existing policy - he said the company will be expanding its branch network by 35 to 75 branches by the end of this fiscal.

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