ICICI Venture in Rs 120-crore PE deal with Star Health

Mumbai: In the first PE deal in the Indian health insurance sector, ICICI Venture today said it is investing Rs120 crore ($ 27 million) in Star Health and Allied Insurance Company Limited, an exclusively health-focussed insurer.

For ICICI Venture this would be its maiden investment from the new $ 500 million PE fund India Advantage Fund Series 3.

The Chennai-headquartered Star Health has grown rapidly since its inception in 2006 to about 3,000 employees and has a significant footprint in various parts of the country.

The company has collected gross premium of about $200 million in 2009-10, thereby making it the single largest private health insurer in the estimated $1.5-billion Indian market.

Star Health has been promoted by shareholders of the ETA Ascon group, a large Middle East-based business conglomerate with interests in engineering, shipping, real estate and financial services, and Oman Insurance Company, which is a subsidiary of the UAE-based Mashreq Bank, with total assets of $25 billion as of December 2009.

The company is led by V Jagannathan, former chairman and managing director of United India Insurance, who has four decades of experience in the Indian insurance industry.
The rapid emergence of Star in the fledgling Indian health insurance market, is largely credited to him.