The bancassurance channel has always been a promising distribution channel for the insurance companies. Through it the insurance companies can use the bank's network to reach out to the different areas of the country. All major insurance companies are tied up with banks to increase penetration to the different parts of India.
The newest in the line exploring this idea is Religare Health Insurance Company Limited (RHICL). The standalone health insurer which began operations in the year 2012 is planning tie -ups with several banks to expand its bancassurance channel. According to CEO Anuj Gulati, the company would break even by 2017-18.
Till now banks have been following a corporate agency model where a bank can represent one life insurer, one general insurer and one standalone health insurer. The recent relaxation of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to banks allows them to act as brokers as well. This gives the bank the option to pitch different insurance companies products to the same customer. This option is however still to be approved by the Reserve Bank of India, the regulator for Indian banks. Religare's CEO is open to tie up with banks functioning as brokers
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