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Capital diet for private insurers

Mumbai, Feb. 6: ICICI Lombard General Insurance and HDFC Standard Life, two leading private insurance companies, have decided to raise capital in order to step up growth.

While ICICI Lombard General Insurance has obtained board approval to double its paid-up capital to Rs 220 crore from the current level of Rs 110 crore, HDFC Standard Life has decided to increase its share capital by Rs 50 crore.

Both the companies have decided to increase the share capital on account of strong growth witnessed in the current financial year. According to ICICI Lombard, ICICI Bank and Lombard, the two partners in the venture will contribute the additional capital in their existing proportion of 74:26 to maintain the shareholding pattern.

Sandeep Bakshi, managing director and chief executive officer, ICICI Lombard, said, “The decision to hike the capital base will help us improve our bottomline considerably as we will be in a better position to increase our retention levels.”

He added that this increase in the retention levels of premium income will enable it to retain a larger proportion of the risks in its own books rather than passing it to overseas re-insurers.

Chief of marketing and retail at ICICI Lombard, Kartik Jain said the company is now focussing on the retail segment after establishing itself as a major player in the corporate segment. On the retail front, it is looking at enhancing its presence through various channels that include agents, direct marketing assistance, alliances and bancassurance.

On the other hand, HDFC Standard Life said that it has recorded a strong growth in its life insurance and pension business. Consequent to the latest round of infusion, the share capital of the firm now stands at Rs 218 crore. Deepak Satwalekar, managing director and CEO, said, “We have seen a substantial increase in business over the two years and have built the widest distribution network.”

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