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Max keen on forging alliance with banks

New Delhi, Dec. 10: Max New York Life, the private life insurer, is interested in entering into equity alliances with banks to create a strong distribution channel for its insurance products.

“The insurance company could pick up a stake in bank or a bank in the insurance company. Alternatively, both could invest in each other or float a separate joint venture entity,” Max New York Life chairman and managing director Anuroop (Tony) Singh said.

The insurer is currently in talks with at least 10 banks for possible equity tie-ups.

At present, insurance companies are permitted to enter into partnerships with several banks to hawk their products through what are known as bancassurance channels.

However, the problem is that a bank is allowed to sell the products of only one insurance company, thereby severely limiting options for consumers.

The insurance industry has been lobbying the insurance regulator to permit banks to sell life insurance or general insurance products of multiple players, rather than restricting them to sell products of only one player in each segment.

Singh recalled that during the liberalisation of the insurance sector, industry had expressed reservations about experimenting bancassurance channel.

Two years on, several insurers have appointed banks as corporate agents. The time is now ripe to further develop the partnership.

Stressing that banks and insurers had forged successful equity partnerships the world over, Singh said Max New York Life was on the lookout for similar alliances.

Currently, New York Life has joint ventures with HSBC for the Argentina market and Allied Bank for the Philippines market.

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