Allstate First to Apply As India Opens Insurance Market

August 17, 2000

U.S. insurer Allstate and the U.K.’s Prudential Plc became the first foreign companies to submit applications, in conjunction with their Indian partners, to establish private insurance companies to sell life products in India under new rules allowing foreign investment, enacted last January.

The newly established Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) began accepting applications Wednesday from companies in which foreign investment may be as much as 26 percent. Indian companies must own the remaining 74 percent.

Despite the ownership restrictions, many companies have expressed interest in entering the largely untapped Indian market, which has been under state control, until last January’s groundbreaking legislation privatizing certain sectors of India’s state run economy.

Those companies who already have established partnerships with Indian companies and are expected to submit applications soon, include AIG, CGNU, Allianz, and ING.

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