IndiaFirst Life looks at more bank tie-ups

M Saraswathy | Mumbai Sep 22, 2016 12:21 AM IST
R M Vishakha, newly-appointed Managing Director & CEO, IndiaFirst Life talks about their strategy and way forward
The private life insurer, a joint venture of Bank of Baroda, Andhra Bank and UK’s Legal & General, is considering tie-ups with other banks. R M Vishakha, managing director and chief executive officer of IndiaFirst, said, “We bring experience and we will be knowledge partners. We are exploring additional tie-ups with more banks. Hence, we have participated in some request for proposal (RFP) by banks.”

She said there was a need to have specialised agencies to deal with small-ticket policies. “Banks still continue to sell small-ticket products and 96 per cent of our branches are active. However, micro-insurance with very low premiums will need specialised distributors for it to penetrate further,” she explained.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) had also allowed insurers to sell products through common service centres (CSCs) in rural areas. But Vishakha said the off-take for the CSC products was not very high because it remained a push product that needed to be pushed.

IndiaFirst Life’s foreign partner has still not increased its stake in the company to 49 per cent, the maximum permissible limit.

Vishakha said Legal & General was interested in investing for the long term, but it was waiting for some more stability.

On the product mix, IndiaFirst still has a large traditional portfolio. Vishakha said this was primarily because of volatility in the stock market. On the digital front, the insurer was working on revamping its website. The new website would be launched next year. “In tune with the launch, we may look at launching another digital product at that time,” she said.
IndiaFirst has set a target of 30 per cent growth in retail new premium for this financial year and it was seeing 80 per cent growth in retail premium in the first five months.

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