Money & Banking

Willis Towers Watson open to raising stake in insurance broking venture

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on January 10, 2018

Adam Garrard, Head of the International Businesses, WTW

Both life and non-life segments growing at a good pace in India, says top official

Willis Towers Watson (WTW), a global advisory, broking and solutions company, is open to hiking its stake in its insurance broking joint venture in India if the government were to further raise the FDI limit beyond the current 49 per cent level, a top official said.

Currently, the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in insurance broking has been capped at 49 per cent, the same level prescribed for insurance companies.

“We are grateful to the government for increasing FDI limits on insurance broking. Twenty-six per cent was interesting... then 49 per cent was much more interesting. One day it will go even higher, which will make it even more interesting,” Adam Garrard, Head of International Businesses at WTW, told BusinessLine.

Garrard’s remarks are significant as they come close on the heels of WTW acquiring 49 per cent stake in Almondz Insurance Brokers, enhancing WTW’s insurance broking capabilities in India.

Almondz Insurance Brokers has now been transformed into Willis Towers Watson India Insurance Brokers Private Ltd.

Garrard also said that he saw India continuing to be a potentially a “very significant” market for WTW.

“There aren’t too many countries with 1.3 billion people. There are also not too many countries around the world that are growing at 7 per cent with a stable inflation,” he said

Coupled with the relatively low insurance penetration in India compared with other world markets, this should be a good market for WTW, he said.

“It’s our belief that insurance is the DNA of capitalism. I am not selling insurance for the sake of selling insurance. I am selling insurance both because it helps my clients and also helps the economy. We see both life and non-life segments growing at good pace in India and we want to be part of that growth,” Garrard said

Garrard said WTW was looking to position itself as an advisory, broking and solutions company in India and in all the 140 countries where it has operations. “We are not looking to be one of those (advisory, broking and solutions) in each of the markets. But all the three in every market,” he said.

Rohit Jain, Head of India, Willis Tower Watson, said that the perception about risk was changing here in India. “We have seen a large number of Indian conglomerates reaching out to us asking about risk management. We have got our proprietary suite of core analytic tools that go beyond broking,” he said.

Jain also saw lot of opportunities for WTW in the infrastructure space, and said WTW was now in talks with three leading real-estate players to develop a “title insurance” product.

WTW is also working towards developing a product that would provide cover for cyber security breaches, which is a hot topic in India now.

Published on September 07, 2017

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