United India to pick new consultant for transformation

Chennai, April 29 (IANS) India’s second largest general insurer, the Rs.9,266 crore premium United India Insurance Company Ltd. will soon select a consultant to chart its second wave of transformation and accelerate its growth, said a top company official.

“In a month’s time, we will finalise the consultant,” chairman-cum-managing director Milind A. Kharat told reporters here.

Queried about the need for another consultant within a short interval of four years, Kharat said: “Now we realise some of our business verticals are not doing well. It is time to reorganise those verticals.”

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) completed its United India assignment in 2009 after handholding the company for some time in implementing its recommendations like setting up of large corporate branches, bancassurance offices, tapping automobile dealers and others.

According to officials, six consulting firms – BCG, KPMG, Ernst and Young, McKinsey and Company, Deloitte and PwC – have submitted their bids for the request for proposal floated by United India.

The consultant is expected to suggest ways and means so that the company regains its accelerated growth rate that it has been logging during the past couple of years.

Queried about the fall in the premium growth rate to 13.28 percent from 28.27 percent and the market share, Kharat attributed that to the tough economic conditions.

According to director and general manager S.Surenther, the company last fiscal brought down its underwriting loss (roughly premium minus claims) to Rs.1,193 crore from Rs.1,222 crore logged in 2011-12.

“The after tax profit last fiscal was Rs.587 crore up from Rs.387 crore posted in 2011-12,” he added.

As to the business mix, Surenther said around 37 percent is contributed by motor insurance, 29 percent by health, 12 percent by fire and the remaining is from business lines like engineering, marine and others.

He said the claims ratio came down to 84.61 percent last fiscal from 88.50 percent in 2011-12 due to better underwriting practices and claims control measures. The company’s investment income stood at Rs.1,777 crore last fiscal up from Rs.1,600 crore earned in 2011-12.

Declaring that the company welcomes scrapping of administered pricing mechanism for motor third party premium (now fixed by insurance regulator), Kharat said the company will focus on having tie-ups with automobile manufacturers and dealers for bulk business.

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