Max India, with interests in health care and insurance, is considering a foray into the related health insurance business, even as it raises Rs 1,400 crore to fund the expansion of its existing businesses.
A team at the New Delhi-based Max is currently studying the health insurance market which is attracting a lot of interest from companies, both local and transnational.
“We are merely looking at the viability of this segment as the synergies come straight from the life insurance business,” said B. Anantharaman, joint managing director, Max India, adding that the company was open to alliances with global health insurance players.
Max is talking to companies seeking to enter India, but Anantharaman declined to name them. International health insurance majors such as Bupa UK and Cigna Healthcare are surveying the Indian market, and the joint venture between Apollo Hospitals Group and Germany’s DKV is set to start operations in a few months.
The health insurance business in India is expected to grow to $3.8 billion in premiums collected by 2012 as compared with $711 million in 2006, according to a report by Ficci, an industry body, and audit firm Ernst & Young.
Currently, only 2% of the country’s population has health insurance.
Max has a joint venture with New York Life called Max New York Life in which it holds a 74% stake; it will be investing Rs1,000 crore that it plans to raise from qualified institutional buyers after shareholder approval, into this. The company will also raise Rs400 crore through preferential allotment for the healthcare business.
(Reuters contributed to this story)