According to Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, public-private partnerships in general insurance were necessary to promote this sector. The Union government is keen to expand crop insurance and medical insurance through such partnerships. “Unlike other nations, we are very backward when it comes to general insurance. Only 8 to 10 per cent people reap the benefits of general insurance. We have very good presence in the life insurance sector and we want to replicate it in general insurance as well.”
“General insurance can benefit not only farm workers, but also small and medium business owners,” he said. Only 8 to 10 per cent of the 16 to 18 per cent people insured in the country buy general insurance and it is much lower compared to other countries.
Mukherjee was speaking at the launch of an insurance agent training facility of Universal Sompo General Life Insurance at his home constituency. N. Singh, chairman and managing director of Universal Sompo, said, “Our objective is to create awareness about the benefits of insurance and agents from our training centres would be capable of doing that.”
Singh was also upbeat that Universal Sompo would be able to generate Rs 300 crore in revenues at the end of this fiscal and may even launch 75 general insurance products at the end of the same. Even as 53 per cent of Universal Sompo’s business comes from the automobile market and 12 per cent from the health market, Singh said they were planning to focus on the heath sector to increase the business to 25 per cent.
Universal Sompo is a joint venture between Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Dabur Investment and Sompo Insurance (Japan). It is the first public-private joint venture in general insurance and started its operations in November 2008.