Merged Air India set to strike massive insurance deals for 2008-09

New Delhi: Flag carrier, Air India's (AI) parent company, the National Aviation Co of India (NACIL), may be set to seek the highest insurance coverage by any airline company in the Indian sub-continent. According to company officials, the merged carrier may go in for an insurance cover of about $6.5 billion from Monday.

Industry sources say all state-owned and private insurance firms are expected to bid for the business. The year long insurance period will expire 30 June 2009. As previously, insurers are expected to form consortiums, in order to spread the large risk involved. The insurance will be provided to a merged fleet of Air India, Indian (erstwhile Indian Airlines), Air India Express and Alliance Air, which total about 140 aircraft.

The 2007-08 contract was bagged by a consortium led by state-run New India Assurance Co Ltd, with ICICI's Lombard General Insurance Co Ltd as co-insurer.

According to reports, NACIL has already managed a 15 per cent discount for its non-aviation business in 2008-09, awarding the contract to ICICI Lombard. Apart from ICICI Lombard, other private companies expected to bid for the NACIL tender are Bajaj Allianz, General Insurance Co Ltd,  Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co Ltd and Reliance General Insurance Co Ltd.

The public sector insurance firms also involved in the aviation sector include Oriental Insurance Co, New India Assurance Co, United India Insurance Co and National Insurance Co.