The Financial Express: September 5, 2003

Mona Mehta

Mumbai:  In a significant move, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, a joint venture between the ICICI group and Prudential Plc of the UK, has expanded its marketing platform for promoting life insurance products to 1,500 banks branches from 642 branches through its existing bancassurance tie-up with seven banks.

With this, ICICI Prudential has increased the number of bank branches (under bancassurance tie-ups) by about 130 per cent. In fiscal 2002-2003, the number of bank branches networked by the company grew by 270 per cent to 642 branches. Of these, 338 branches were from four new bancassurance relationships which it had forged with Allahabad Bank, South Indian Bank (SIB), Federal Bank and Lord Krishna Bank. The remaining expansion is from earlier relationships, notably ICICI Bank and Bank of India (BoI), ICICI Prudential chief-marketing Saugata Gupta told FE.

On the company's new plans, Mr Gupta said, 'The greatest expansion has come from BoI and Allahabad Bank. In addition, ICICI Bank, SIB and Federal Bank have also increased the number of branches'.

Further, Mr Gupta informed that after having released advertising campaign through print, outdoor and radio, the company has also recently released a new advertising campaign through the electronic media on 'Smart Kid' Insurance Policy. This policy is positioned as a Child plan that leaves nothing to chance'.

According to Mr Gupta, Last fiscal, Rs 102 crore of premium came through alternate distribution channels which comprises of bancassurance channel. This channel is serviced by 430 financial service consultants. There are 80 active corporate agents, and 22,000 life insurance advisors, at present.

Mr Gupta further added that two to three per cent of the insurance policies that were written in the last year was sourced through direct-marketing. While 28 per cent came from alternate channels, 18 per cent of the business came from bancassurance which means 10 per cent has come from corporate agents and direct-marketing channel.

ICICI Prudential has garnered Rs 364 crore as the new business premium income in fiscal 2002-03. In fact, in the first quarter of this fiscal, the company has issued around 51,000 policies, Rs 70 crore in new business premium income which accounts for a growth of 132 per cent over last year's first quarter. It has also crossed Rs 10,000 crore sum assured mark.

As for emerging trends, Mr Gupta explained that private participation in insurance as a tax saving tool for comprehensive financial solution, and, product pushing for need-based solutions required for personal financial review is fast emerging.