SBI life plans overseas foray

Riding high on the strong brand identity of State Bank of India, SBI Life Insurance is now looking to foray into overseas market next year by targeting Indian expatriates in the Middle East countries for selling insurance products.
“We have plans to enter Middle East countries as there is a huge potential for life insurance business here because of the large presence of the Indian expatriates. Moreover, SBI has a strong brand identity which will also help us.(to penetrate there),” SBI Life Insurance Managing Director and CEO US Roy told reporters here on Tuesday.
Stating that the company is still in negotiation with concerned authorities for overseas foray, he said it hopes to start operations in 2009-10. However, he said the company has still not decided on the distribution model for marketing products in the overseas market.
SBI Life Insurance, a 74:26 joint venture between SBI and BNP Paribas Assurance, has targeted to achieve over 70 per cent growth in new premium income at Rs 8,500 crore in 2008-09 against collection of Rs 4,800 crore in last fiscal. The company is also looking to achieve over Rs 10,000 crore of total premium income in this fiscal against Rs 5,622 crore in 2007-08.
The company has plans to open 250 new branches this year, besides doubling the headcount of insurance advisors in 2008-09. Presently it has 180 branches and 43,000 agents.
However, he said the company would not go for any fresh capital infusion this year because of healthy solvency ratio of 2.2 per cent with paid up capital of Rs 1,000 crore. Last year, it invested Rs 600 crore on expansion purposes. click here for more

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