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Merger most likely by end of next financial year: CMD, National Insurance

In a Q&A, K Sanath Kumar says the challenge of technology and cultural convergence can be addressed

Namrata Acharya  |  Kolkata 

Sanath Kumar, CMD, National Insurance
Sanath Kumar, CMD, National Insurance

After the initial public offering (IPO) of last year, Kolkata-based was next in line for an early next financial year. However, now with the government proposing the of three public sector general insurance -— Oriental Insurance, and -- will now have to re-prioritise its strategies. K Sanath Kumar, chairman and managing director of the state-owned insurer, in an interview with Namrata Acharya, points out how the mega-will create new synergies amid challenges. What are your views on the of the three The will increase the combined strength of the public sector insurance companies, and also add to enterprise value. We hope that such a will bring more synergies and consolidation of market share. It would lead to the creation of largest general insurance company in the country. Today the general insurance market is very fragmented. So creating large entities in a fragmented market makes sense. What kind of synergy can we expect in the merged entity? Different public sector general insurance have presence in different geographies. They also have different distribution channels and specific array of customers. For example, some have a good presence in the power sector, others are good in retail, while others may have presence in oil and energy--so all this leads to synergies. What are the challenges in creating this insurance behemoth? It would be a challenge to manage such a big company, but we have necessary management expertise within us to oversee the and drive its growth.

One challenge would be technology, as we are on different technology platforms that have to be brought together, However, the challenge can be met with the present technology. Also, there should be a cultural convergence, which also is possible. Salaries and terms of conditions of all the employees should remain the same. Would it be a challenge to rationalise the products as all the three have different offerings? Most of the products are essentially similar with some finer aspects of differentiation. Hence rationalisation of product will not be difficult. It is difficult to predict how the premium will move -- whether it will go up or down. What would the expected size of the merged entity be? This will not simply be an addition of numbers, although the total premium income alone together would be around Rs 40,000 crore (Rs 400 billion). Then there will be a lot of convergence and rationalisation of offices as well. You had been in the process of having an Now with the sudden change in government decision, did you incur any costs? It is very clear now that the combined entity will go to the market. We haven’t appointed any as yet, and only discussions had been going on with the government. What do you think is the rationale and government’s thinking behind the In the banking sector too, government had announced that there would be consolidation, so it is continuation of government’s vision of creating a larger government-owned entity in the financial sector. This is just a natural corollary. What is the realistic timeframe for the I was told that the would be most likely finalised by the end of next financial year. The has to be amended and necessary permission for the has to be acquired from the Share transfer is not a challenge, as 100 per cent is held by the government.

First Published: Tue, February 06 2018. 14:53 IST
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