Going global to grow

As his domestic turf is under threat, GIC managing director P B Ramanujam plans to strengthen the sole national reinsurer's prospects outside India

Chennai: "It sounds Greek (or Latin) to me." You will never hear General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) managing director P B Ramanujam say this. This polyglot is not only fluent in these two languages but also in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil (his mother tongue) and English.

"Greek is a majestic language while Latin is sweet. But English is the bastard," says this 59-year-old insurance expert, a chartered accountant by profession. Ramanujam has this exquisite habit of describing the etymology of the English words that catches his fancy during a conversation.

More than that, it is his witty one-liners that will stump you. Sample one. "By banning marriages can you prevent population growth," he poses this question while talking about whether non-life insurers are exhausting GIC's reinsurance capacity first before reinsuring their risks abroad.

Talking about GIC, the times are going to be tough for the sole national reinsurer. When global primary insurers are already in India it won't be long for foreign reinsurers to set up shop here.