The State-run lenders Bank of Baroda (BoB), Andhra Bank and their British partner Legal & General on Friday announced the formal launch of their life insurance venture, IndiaFirst here.

IndiaFirst Life Insurance, which is the 23rd player in the sector, has an equity capital of Rs. 330 crore, and is headquartered in Mumbai. In this three-way joint venture, BoB holds 44 per cent, Andhra Bank has an equity stake of 30 per cent with the remaining 26 per cent being held by the British partner-the maximum permissible FDI limit in the sector.

After formally launching the operations of the youngest insurer, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said, “Insurance has huge market potential and insurance is a key area where we require more penetration and reach.”

In the financial services space, he said, “The insurance sector has immense opportunity to grow not in terms of just providing life insurance, but also in its contribution to overall economic growth, by augmenting savings.”

All factors are in place for the domestic life insurance industry to blossom in one of the fastest growing financial services markets in the world.

“I hope this life insurance joint venture to penetrate in to hitherto uninsured areas in rural areas; it should also generate more business opportunities,” Mukherjee said.

Speaking about the new venture, Bank of Baroda chairman and managing director MD Mallya, who will also be the chairman of the insurance company, said the bank will be distributing insurance products of IndiaFirst through its 1,150 branches.

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