News eDaily22 Sep 2017

India:IRDAI approves new online insurance venture

22 Sep 2017

The insurance regulator IRDAI has granted the final approval to the new general insurance company Go Digit General Insurance floated by India-born Prem Watsa, who controls Fairfax Financial Holding, the parent of Lombard.

The new insurer will be headquartered in Bengaluru and is expected to use a digital platform to conduct general insurance business, reported the Indian Express.

The new company has already created a buzz in the market because Mr Kamesh Goyal, a former senior executive of Allianz, is also a major partner in the new insurance company. Some of the Mr Goyal’s earlier colleagues are also partners in the company.

The approval was granted just a day after the close of the INR56-billion (US$862 million) initial public offer (IPO) of ICICI Lombard General Insurance. The partners of the nonlife insurer, ICICI Bank and Watsa-owned Fairfax, offloaded stakes of 7% and 12% respectively.

Post IPO, Fairfax's stake (through Lombard) will fall to 9.9%. IRDAI wanted Fairfax to reduce its stake in ICICI Lombard below 10% to pave the way for granting the licence to the new company. Fairfax will hold a stake of 49% in Go Digit.

Under Indian regulations, foreign investors cannot own a stake of more than 10% each in two or more insurance companies.


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