Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Sep 14, 2002
Info-Tech - E-Commerce & E-Business
ITC e-choupals soon to sell life insurance
KOLKATA, Sept. 13
ITC'S Secunderabad-based agri business division has decided to distribute life insurance products and some food items through its e-choupal network.
It has also planned to offer rural market research data and analysis as a new service.
Mr S. Sivakumar, Chief Executive of the agri business division of ITC, told newspersons on the sidelines of the 29th National Management Convention, organised by the All India Management Association here today that the company would shortly begin a pilot project for distribution of life insurance products in five choupals covering around 50 villages in Madhya Pradesh.
"Products of LIC and a few private players will be distributed under the system. The pilot project will continue for six months after which the insurance products will be on offer to more villages. By the end of the next kharif season, the target is to reach the insurance products to 3,000 villages,'' Mr Sivakumar said.
"We have studied the proposal with the prospective insurers during the past six months, worked out a reference model for brokerage and surveyed the needs for the prospective clients. The life insurance products will be formally launched later this month,'' Mr Sivakumar added.
Non-life insurance products will be taken up in the next fiscal. "However, crop insurance will come later on the choupal channel as the products are yet to become free-market items and the Government intervention is still a dominant factor in the area,'' he pointed out.
ITC's e-choupal project currently covers 6,000 villages of four States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. However, according to him, 20 new villages are coming to the choupal fold every day.
"In another six to eight months, we will also market vegetable oil, wheat flour, sugar and salt through our choupal network.'' Mr Sivakumar said that ITC expected a 60 per cent growth for the agri business division during 2002-03 at Rs 1,600 crore against Rs 1,000 crore recorded in 2001-2002.
In 2003-04, ITC plans to spread its choupal network to West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. "In the case of West Bengal, the initiative would be in the field of aquaculture,'' he added.
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