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Life insurance company Aviva moves to India

Aviva's insurance processes are already being handled in India. Now, it plans to outsource more jobs, writes Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:17 IST

Richard Harvey the CEO of life insurance company Aviva, which has outsourced jobs to India, defended his company's decision and said: "I don't believe in kicking against the practicalities of things, so if you can do something better and cheaper in India, we'll move it to India."

There are 13 insurance players in the Indian market, but Harvey said: "We are very good in the primary sector. No one is going to open up in any market if they can't make a living, if the returns aren't there for them. So I think India is on a journey as it opens its borders steadily, and we will eventually reach a situation where almost anybody can come along."

He added: "At the moment, given the size of India, and its great development potential, there is clearly plenty of room for the players who are here." When asked if that was the reason companies like Aviva were willing to come in as minority partners, or is India unique, he said: "India is not unique in that. Although we are at the low-end of the scale at the moment with only 26 per cent, I feel India is on a journey. As you are probably aware, we went into China at a very similar time and there we have a 50:50 partnership. So, it is not uncommon. My view is that it is part of a journey, and the eventual destination is one of open free competitive trade."

Speaking on India being an attractive outsourcing destination, Harvey has been quoted saying in an interview: "You do something, you manufacture anything in the cheapest part of the world, and there are number of processes which we currently do in the UK, which we are bound to consider doing in India. I am not saying we'll move everything here, but if you can do something better or cheaper, and it is mostly about being able to do it more economically here, then due to the wonders of modern communication, you don't have to do it in a UK city. You can do it in an Indian city. As you know we have about 1,200 people already working in India doing essential processes to do with our general insurance, which we are doing for houses and cars in the UK. If you dial into the Aviva in the UK to report an accident on your car, how to make a claim, the computer allocate you to the least busy call centre and which could be a Newcastle, or it could be New Delhi."

First Published: Dec 25, 2003 21:33 IST