Sun Life to invest more in Indian venture

Mumbai: Sun Life plans to raise its investment from Canadian $65 million to over Canadian $100 million, says Sun Life Financial president and chief operating officer C James Prieur.

Much of this additional investment will go towards the life insurance business in India, Birla Sun Life Insurance, currently a part of the joint venture with the Aditya Birla group.

Birla Sun Life Insurance, which completed one year of operation, has a total sum assured in excess of Rs 1,600 crore. It has 12 branches in nine cities and is planning to increase its coverage to 22 branches in 14 cities by August 2002.

In one year in India, we have done more new sales in insurance as compared to Hong Kong, where we are present for the last 100 years, says Prieur. We would like to treble our business during the current fiscal, says Birla Sun Life Insurance chairman and managing director Nani Javeri.

Javeri, however, did not divulge the figures for the previous fiscal. Birla Sun Life will launch fresh unit-linked packages this year. Says Prieur: We are committed to infuse more capital into the life insurance business, which has been growing quite well. Life insurance is a capital-intensive business, necessitating fund infusion until book profits start to show in six-to-seven years.

Sun Life, which is currently entering into a 50:50 joint venture arrangement with the China Everbright group to make its foray into life insurance in China, hopes to increase its stake in the Indian joint venture from 26 per cent to 50 per cent as and when the government lifts the cap on foreign investments.