Alice G. Vaidyan, Chairman and Managing Director of the General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re ) , the country's national reinsurance major, has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her work to promote insurance ties between India and the UK.


Alice G. Vaidyan was in London to attend the first India-UK Insurance Summit on Thursday, was nominated for the traditional honour by the Lord Mayor of London, Peter Estlin, and City of London Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness.


The summit was organised by Asia Insurance Post, City Of London and Association of British Insurers(ABI)


The Freedom of the City of London dates back to the 13th century and has since developed into an honour bestowed upon individuals who make an impact in the financial hub of London, referred to as the City or the Square Mile.


The Freedom of the City of London is a very special and ancient tradition, said McGuinness.


Putting aside her astute business credentials and services to India's insurance industry, she is an excellent ambassador for India, and has done much to boost ties in business between our two countries. “As India's domestic insurance industry continues to mature and grow, I look forward to working with Mrs Vaidyan to further promote exchanges and ties between UK and Indian businesses,'' she said.


Vaidyan, who has been at the helm of India's only stateowned reinsurance firm since January 2016, told the summit that she sees a number of synergies between the two insurance markets, especially in the field of Insurtech.


We are a very tech savvy nation and have been focused on learning from the best in the world. I am confident there will be a lot of change in the Indian insurance sector in a very short span of time, she said.


The event, which delved into areas such as India's low insurance penetration and density, was aimed as a precursor to the Global InsurTech Summit in Mumbai later in the year.


According to official data, India has 34 general insurers, 24 life insurers, branch offices of 10 global reinsurers and over 500 brokers, with 45 foreign reinsurers also based in the country.


Last year, the industry garnered around USD 100 billion in total premiums, with this expected to hit USD 280 billion by 2022.


India is expected to be a world leader in Insurtech and we look forward to technology enabling, rather than disrupting the industry, James Nash, CEO of reinsurer Guy Carepenter's International Division, said.


The City of London Corporation noted that companies in the UK manage 1.8 trillion pounds worth of investments, making it the third-largest insurance industry in the world.


Investment in insurtech in 2018 was just shy of 1 billion pounds, making the UK "ideally placed" to work with India in this area.With India embarking on the world's largest crop insurance and health insurance schemes, the sector is set for a boom time.


Insurtech will help meet the country's insurance penetration challenge, added Manish Singh, Minister (Economic) at the Indian High Commission in London.