Six more insurance cos on wings: Chidambaram

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Bangalore, June 16 (UNI) Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said six more insurance companies are on the verge of opening offices in India to take advantage of potential available in the sector.

Speaking at the launch of the CanaraHSBC Oriential Bank of Commerce Insurance Company Limited here, he said this was the 19th insurance company established after opening up the sector for private participation. Six more were coming up shortly indicating the vast opportunity available in this sector.

''Though there were protests against the Union Government's step to open up the Insurance Sector, which were still continuing, the decision proved right as the demand for insurance products was increasing,'' he added.

Mr Chidambaram said insurance penetration in the country was very low and India termed as one of the most under-insured countries in the world.

''We need more insurance companies to come up and more products, but a word of caution is we need to approach Indian people very carefully,'' he said.

''The products should be simple to attract the poor. Thirty-five per cent of the GDP comes through savings of the poor and if the insurance product is simple and attractive to the lower and middle sections of the society, then I have no doubt of success of the sector.'' he added.

Canara Bank Chairman M B N Rao, in his welcome address, said the country has witnessed 28 per cent growth in insurance sector during the last seven years and there was a huge potential to be tapped.

HSBC Holdings Group Managing Director of Insurance Clive C R Bannister said the company earned 24 billion dollar profit last year and had so far invested two billion USD in India.

Earlier, Mr Chidambaram inaugurated Canara Bank's 1000th Core Banking Service (CBS) branch at Karaikudi.


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