U.S. health service giant Cigna Corporation, and Indian conglomerate TTK Group have announced a joint venture to sell health insurance products in India.
The Mumbai-based company will be named Cigna TTK. Sandeep Patel, managing director, Cigna Health Solutions India Pvt. Ltd., a Cigna subsidiary, has been named chief executive of the joint venture. Patel has spent several years working in the U.S. and internationally for Cigna.
Cigna said Mumbai was chosen as the corporate headquarters because it offers a strong talent pool. Patel will be managing products and services. They include: individual private medical insurance; supplemental health and accident products; and health benefits for expatriates.
Pending approval by India’s regulatory authorities, the joint venture is expected to begin operations in early 2013 and will build a workforce locally.
“We recognize the value of TTK’s deep insights into the Indian consumer’s interests and needs as well as their ability to reach these consumers across the country,” said Cigna chief executive officer David Cordani.
TT Jagannathan, chairman of the TTK Group, added, “With its extensive global healthcare expertise, Cigna has demonstrated a keen interest in India and the health and well being of its citizens.”
Cigna said it is the first U.S. insurer to apply for entry into India as part of a stand-alone joint venture health insurance company. Full license to operate is not expected until 2013.
Cigna also recently announced that it would donate $25,000 to Water for People for clean-water projects in West Bengal, bringing Cigna’s total funding to the group to $190,000.