The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

First Steps into A Big Market

Friday, June 1, 2001

Finally, after 30 years of closed doors, whimsical operation, and little innovation, the India’s parliament opened the insurance industry to the private sector in December 2000. Foreign companies have been allowed a maximum of 26 percent of equity participation in any insurance venture, representing this struggle between political ideologies and the force of globalization and economic liberalization. Since then, a slew of partnerships between international insurance companies and local Indian business conglomerates have been announced, including Tata-AIG, HDFC-Standard Life, ICICI-Prudential, Max New York Life-ING Vyasa Bank, JK Bank-Metlife, and so on. They are looking to offer protection to India’s one billion people, of whom only five percent have life insurance coverage, representing a market opportunity of about $10 billion.
Perhaps the most high profile among these partnerships is the joint venture between Indian business conglomerate The Tata Group and the world’s largest international insurance company, American International Group Inc., (AIG). In an interview with Yogesh Sharma, editor, siliconindia, AIG Chairman and CEO Maurice R. Greenberg, the man behind the $200 billion global insurance heavyweight, outlined the long-term objectives and vision of AIG in India as it takes its first steps into the domestic market.

Yogesh Sharma: What is your broad business vision as you begin doing business in India? Greenberg: We were in India operating a non-life business in the 1950s. When the insurance industry was nationalized, we were obviously forced to leave. We understood some things about the Indian market then, and we have a legacy of knowledge about the country. We are pleased to be able to come back. We have warm feelings about India and its people, and we believe that we will not only bring insurance and technology knowledge to the market, but also, as a result of that, we will be investing more in India.

It is very clear that any country that begins to open its economy is better off than any country with closed economy. That has been proven many times over. The more doors India opens up, deregulates and makes it easier for foreign investments to come in, the better off India and its people will be.

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