United India Insurance keen to re-enter overseas markets

Sunday 28, September, 2014 Public sector general insurer United India Insurance has said it is looking to re-enter the overseas markets and will soon carry out a feasibility study to assess the business potential. The company was present in Hong Kong, but had shut it down in 2002. "We are exploring business potential in overseas markets. We will undertake a feasibility study for this soon. We are also studying the regulatory frameworks in some of the target markets in this regard," United India chairman and managing director Milind Kharat told PTI. Kharat said the company may look at markets of the Middle East and Sri Lanka to begin with, as these markets offer good business potential. "Many business houses from Tamil Nadu have commercial and business interest in Sri Lanka. So it is a natural extension for us. In the Middle East, there is considerable expansion in infrastructure, oil and energy and other sectors which again offers huge potential for us," he said. The country's largest non-life insurer New India Assurance is present in 22 countries. Many Gulf countries have announced large projects like airports, smart cities and so on, he said, adding that domestic corporates are also increasingly becoming a part of these developments. "Also, many of them are our existing customers here. They look forward to continuing their relationships with us. Therefore we see a sense in expanding our presence in these geographies," Kharat added. On the domestic business, Kharat said a stable government at the Centre has brought in a new kind of confidence in the people. "We believe this optimism will definitely help the industry perform better and we hope the insurance market will also benefit from this in the days to come," he said. United India Insurance has opened 1,114 micro offices last fiscal and it plans to strengthen these offices further by providing technical support as well as additional manpower, Kharat said. The company has provided online access to its agents across the country and is planning to use hand-held devices which will help generate a standard policy and receipt which can be delivered instantly to the policyholder. "Such innovations will help expand our business. Apart from opening more micro-offices, we would be recruiting about 14,000 agents to expand business," he said.

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