The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Insurers play the blame game

New Delhi, March 26: The war of words between the private and state-owned insurers has ratcheted up a little with the publication of Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Foundation’s study paper that says the private entities have done little to create new markets, provide better products and improved customer service even after two years of commercial operations.

The paper said it was expected that the private players would introduce simple products and later develop innovative products in a new market. It was also believed that agents, brokers, surveyors, specialised consultants, distribution networks with non-banking finance firms, and banks using internet will be developed.

Ajit Sharan, joint secretary in the finance ministry, said, “Almost the entire business and product portfolio of private non-life players have concentrated on easy portfolios like fire and engineering insurance.” A. V. Purushothaman, director and general manager of New India Assurance, said, “The private insurers have not been able to have any mass market penetration.”

However, Iffco-Tokio General Insurance CMD Ajit Narain said, “The findings of the study are totally baseless. It is unfair of the PSU insurance firms to expect those things from us just after two years of existence which they themselves could not achieve in 30-40 years”.

Vijay Pawar, President and CEO of Reliance General Insurance said, “It is too early to give such negative comments and pin such high hopes on the private insurers.”

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