newest life insurer IDBI Fortis Life Insurance (IDBI Fortis) has
commenced business operations.
Formation of IDBI Fortis dates back to July 2006 when
negotiations commenced between Belgo-Netherlands bancassurer
Fortis, public sector bank the Industrial Development Bank of India
(IDBI) and Indian private sector bank Federal Bank. Regulatory
approval for the formation of IDBI Fortis, India’s 12th private
sector life insurer, was received in December 2007.
Commenting on the launch, Fortis Insurance CEO Peer van Harten,
commented: “Fortis is delighted to be able to launch activities in
India, and is looking forward to an excellent collaboration with
two highly successful banks.”
IDBI has a 48 percent stake in IDBI Fortis and Fortis and Federal
Bank 26 percent each.
As would be expected, IDBI Fortis’ distribution focus is on the
bancassurance channel. At the time of its launch in April IDBI
Fortis reported it had recruited and trained about 400 employees,
servicing 490 bank branches of IDBI and 550 bank branches of
Federal Bank. The two banks have a combined total of about 5
million customers, including about 800,000 non-resident Indian
In addition to the bank channel, IDBI Fortis is building a tied
agency force. In the first phase, which will run until June 2008,
about 30 agency branches will established nationwide. By March 2009
the number of agency branch network is expected to total about 100
and will be capable of serving 15,000 agents.
IDBI Fortis’ flagship product is unit linked and has been branded
Wealthsurance. The product, which Fortis said is positioned as a
wealth management and wealth accumulation solution, offers 11
investment options ranging from traditional equity, bond and money
market funds to capital protected closed end funds and return
Wealthsurance also offers a number of riders including cover in the
event of death, terminal illness, accidental injuries, major
diseases, hospitalisation and disablement.
In addition to Wealthsurance IDBI Fortis is marketing a range of
term, home mortgage protection products.