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LIC embarks on Bangla voyage

Hemant Bhargava in Calcutta on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, Dec. 13: The Life Insurance Corporation of India is planning to enter Bangladesh and has approached the regulatory authority of that country for necessary approvals to start business.

“Our entry into Bangladesh is subject to regulatory approvals. We have to apply to the local regulator and we are in an active stage of discussion,” said Hemant Bhargava, east zone manager of the LIC. He was speaking to The Telegraph on the sidelines of a trade fair here today.

Bhargava said LIC officials had already visited Bangladesh. “So far the indications are all positive.”

At present, Bangladesh has 62 insurance companies and all but one are local players. US-based MetLife Alico is the only foreign insurer.

Dhaka has recently opened up its insurance sector to foreign direct investments. The move will enable the LIC to partner a local player and start business.

Unlike in India, Bangladesh allows a foreign insurer to pick up a controlling stake in insurance.

The LIC is already present in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

The company is currently engaged in redesigning its policies following the revision of guidelines by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) earlier this year.

The company is planning to have 12 redesigned policies by the end of 2013. It had 50 saleable policies at the beginning of the year. The revised policies could then be moulded to suit the requirements of the foreign countries.

Though the life insurer had witnessed a 6.5 per cent drop in new premium collection in the last fiscal, it had budgeted a 12 per cent growth on that count this fiscal.

Higher premium

Persons suffering from HIV/AIDS or other pre-existing illness will have to pay a higher premium for life insurance, the IRDA said today.

IRDA chairman T.S. Vijayan said in New Delhi insurance companies would provide life cover to persons with pre-existing illness, but the pricing would be based on commercial considerations.

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