United India Insurance mulls overseas foray

May 4th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, May 4 (IANS) Public sector non-life insurer United India Insurance Co Ltd is planning to launch overseas operations shortly, a top official said here Monday.
Announcing the company’s performance for fiscal 2008-09, G. Srinivasan, chairman and managing director, told reporters: “This year we will be looking at going overseas markets.”

K. Sanath Kumar, general manager of United India, told IANS: “Now we are planning to hire a consultant to suggest the markets we can enter and also map the potential markets.”

Out of the four government-owned general insurers, New India Assurance has the largest overseas presence (Britain, Netherlands Antilles, Nigeria and Kenya).

Oriental Insurance (Dubai, Kuwait and Nepal) and National Insurance (Nepal) have also launched overseas business.

According to Srinivasan, last fiscal was satisfactory for the company as it increased its market share to 13.98 percent from 13.33 percent.

“Last year our gross premium was Rs.4,277.77 crore, up from Rs.3,739.56 crore the previous year. The net premium (gross premium minus reinsurance outgo) was Rs.3,510.41 crore, up from Rs.2,880.66 crore,” he said.

Srinivasan added that the company through underwriting and loss reduction measures reduced its underwriting losses (premium minus claims outgo) to Rs.546.79 crore from Rs.853.35 crore in 2007-08.

The stock market crash cut the United India’s investment income last fiscal by Rs.469.09 crore to Rs.1,048.56 crore.

“This in turn reduced the company’s net profit to Rs.476.05 crore in fiscal 2009 from Rs.631.62 crore the previous year,” said S.K. Ghosh, general manager and financial advisor of the company.

The board recommended a dividend of Rs.96 crore to the central government.

Satisfied with the performance of the company’s one-man offices that earned Rs.140.60 crore premium last year, Srinivasan said plans were afoot to open 200 more such offices, taking the total number to 480 this year.

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