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MetLife to hire 2,000 managers

Private sector insurer MetLife India today said it plans to hire about 2,000 managers as well as 30,000 advisors and double its branch network by March

business Updated: Nov 16, 2008 14:52 IST

Private sector insurer MetLife India on Sunday said it plans to hire about 2,000 managers as well as 30,000 advisors and double its branch network by March -- a move that comes in the midst of talks about wide-scale layoffs and trimming of businesses due to a global financial crisis.

"India promises phenomenal growth opportunities for the insurance business in the long term and to realise its potential, it is the right time to acquire resources as they are available at lower valuations due to economic slowdown," MetLife India Insurance Co's Managing Director Rajesh Relan told PTI in an interview in New Delhi.

Asserting that the right time is here for expansion, be it in terms of opening new branches or adding to the manpower, Relan said that insurance was a long-term business and its growth strategy should not be affected by a temporary blip.

"We will take our network to 191 branches by March 2009, up from 96 at the end of the last month," Relan said, adding that 18 new branches have already been opened so far this month and 77 more branches would be added over the next five months.

Besides, MetLife India plans to hire about 2,000 sales managers and 30,000 financial advisors by March, which would nearly double the two workforces, the company chief said.

Currently, MetLife India has about 2,220 sales managers and more than 30,000 financial advisors working for it, which would grow to a strength of about 60,000 advisors and more than 4,200 managers by March next year.

Noting that it was the biggest ever expansion exercise that the company has undertaken since its inception, Relan said that the hiring as well as branch expansion has already begun across the country.

"We expanded our network to 96 branches in the past five years and now we are planning to take it to 191 in just about five months," he said.

The extensive expansion plan follows an approval by its board of directors to infuse Rs 100 crore of additional equity capital into the company.

Relan said that the board has decided to expand the company's paid-up capital from Rs 1,480 crore to Rs 1,580 crore to help grow its business.

The new branches would come up across the length and breadth of the country and would expand the company's presence to about 140 cities.

Relan said Met Life has been one of the fastest-growing companies in the past 30 months. As per Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority figures for September, the company was the second-fastest growing company in the country.

As a result of phenomenal growth, the insurer has doubled its market share from 1.4 per cent to 2.8 per cent in just about two years, he said.

MetLife India Insurance Company is an affiliate of MetLife, Inc. And was incorporated as a joint venture between MetLife International Holdings, Inc., The Jammu and Kashmir Bank, M. Pallonji and Co. Private Limited and other private investors.

The US-based insurer holds a 26 per cent stake in the insurance venture in consonance with the FDI norms for the country.