The coming months would see the formation of three to four pure health insurance companies as global health insurance players with Discovery of South Africa, Cigna and Aetna of United States in talks with domestic players to form joint ventures.
Industry sources say Cigna has given a mandate to consulting firm Ernst & Young and is currently in talks with a large bank in addition to a hospital chain. Discovery and Aetna are holding talks with Religare Enterprises.
An official of Religare Enterprises confirmed, “Yes, Discovery and Aetna are the players with whom we are currently exploring options with.” Religare Enterprises began its search for another foreign partner after its plans to set up a health insurance company with Swiss Re failed.
Greg Morris, International Executive Management, Discovery, confirmed to Hindustan Times, “Yes we are holding talks with three Indian players. In a year, we hope to be active in the Indian market.”
Max Bupa Health Insurance Company, a tie-up between Max Healthcare and UK based insurer Bupa is already at the licensing stage with the insurance regulator. There are only two stand-alone health insurers in the country — Apollo DKV and Chennai -based Star Health and Allied Insurance company.
There are 16 non-life insurance companies that sell health insurance policies. Current rules permit up to 26 per cent FDI in insurance companies.