Birla Sun Life Insurance ties up with five cooperative banks across India to increase penetration

17th March, 2006

Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI), after having made its mark in the life insurance industry as a pioneer in the Bancassurance channel of distribution, has moved into the next phase in its Bancassurance model. It has announced a tie up with five cooperative banks across India. BSLI has one of the largest number of bank tie-ups in the life insurance industry. Seven of the most prominent banks in India sell BSLI's plans from more than 300 locations.

Speaking about the tie-ups, Mr. Nani Javeri, CEO, BSLI says, "It is our endeavour to be a large national player. Our strategy since inception has been that of multi-channel distribution and Bancassurance has played a major part in our growth. We are now looking at replicating our extremely robust and successful Bancassurance model with key cooperative banks in the country which offer tremendous opportunities for life insurance sales in hitherto untapped customer segments."

Bancassurance is a key distribution channel for BSLI with the channel contributing nearly 45 per cent of the total individual life sales. The company currently has tie ups with Citibank, Deutsche Bank, IDBI Bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Development Credit Bank, HBL Global etc.

In the initial phase BSLI has entered into a tie up with five cooperative banks in the different regions of the country. These banks will be the model setup for the region and the experience will be replicated with other cooperative banks in the region. BSLI has set up a dedicated team within the organisation to drive this initiative. The company is evaluating possible tie-ups with several other cooperative banks in the country.

There are close to 2000 urban cooperative banks in India with over 15 million customers and nearly Rs.1,10,000 crore in deposits. These banks have a huge customer base from the middle class and very strong relationships with them, which is important in life insurance selling.

BSLI is looking at leveraging the strong relationship banking strengths of the cooperative bank partners. The strategy will be to sell simple products from its suite initially and move up the value chain with increasing awareness levels amongst customers and the staff of the banks. The tie-ups are expected to increase BSLI's reach across the various regions in India.

In the north, BSLI has tied up with Indian Mercantile Cooperative Bank, Lucknow, which has 11 branches across the state. This was the first cooperative bank to commence sales of BSLI's plans in the month of January 2006.

In Bhopal the company has entered into a tie-up with Krishna Mercantile Cooperative Bank which has a strong and loyal base of customers in the city of Bhopal.

In the west BSLI has entered into a tie-up with the 'Thane Bharat Sahakari Bank', Mumbai that has 12 branches and has received the license to operate 10 more branches in the state.

To increase its reach in eastern India BSLI has tied with the Nagaland State Cooperative Bank, Dimapur, which has a network of 25 branches and the Jamshedpur Urban Cooperative Bank, Jamshedpur with two branches in the city of Jamshedpur.

About the Aditya Birla Group The Aditya Birla Group has a turnover close to Rs. 33,000 crore (as on 31 March 2005) and is one of the largest business houses in India. It enjoys a leadership position in all the sectors in which it operates. With over 75 business units, spanning the South East Asian belt, Africa, Canada and the UK among others, it is reckoned as India's first multinational corporation. The group is anchored by 72,000 employees and has seven lakh shareholders, with a market capitalization of Rs.30,500 crore.

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About Sun Life Financial Inc.
Sun Life Financial Inc. is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of wealth accumulation and protection products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Tracing its roots back to 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of 31 December 2004, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of USD 298 billion.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under ticker symbol "SLF".

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For further information kindly contact :
Ms. Anjana Grewal
Vice President - Marketing & Communication
Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Limited
Ph: 022-5678 3333