SBI Life Insurance bags the most customers

Mumbai: SBI Life Insurance became India's first private insurance player to have more than two million customers. The company posted strong growth figures in October 2004, underwriting Rs503.4 million in first year premiums, the second highest amongst private insurers in India. The company is also India's largest group insurer, with a market share of 14.91 per cent under group schemes (as per IRDA data in October 2004).

SBI Life is a joint venture between the government-owned State Bank of India and Cardif SA, one of the biggest life insurance companies in France, and was incorporated in March 2001. SBI holds 74 per cent of the equity and Cardif the remaining 26 per cent.

SBI Life MD and CEO S Krishnamurthy said that new products slated for the next year would provide a thrust for further growth. He said the company's growth has been primarily driven by its group insurance business.

For the first half of the financial year 2004-05, SBI Life grew by 405 per cent, posting a total business premium income of Rs20.2 million (Rs3.99 million). Group home loan insurance contributed around 40 per cent of the premium income, while its individual endowment product, Sudarshan, earned around 20 per cent of the premium.