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|Birla Sun Life Insurance Names Quest Diagnostics its Exclusive Provider of Health Assessment Services in India|
MADISON, N.J., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE:DGX), the leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Quest Diagnostics India Pvt. Ltd. has entered into a long-term agreement to provide health assessment services, including diagnostic laboratory testing, for Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Limited (Birla Sun Life), a joint venture between The Aditya Birla Group, one of the largest business houses in India, and Sun Life Financial Inc., a leading international financial services organization.
Under terms of the agreement, Quest Diagnostics will generally have the exclusive right to provide full-service medical screening and diagnostic testing of life insurance candidates, and related administrative services for Birla Sun Life's individual life-insurance underwriting business. Birla Sun Life is a leading insurance carrier in India's burgeoning life-insurance premium market, which is predicted to more than double to $100 billion by 2012.
"Birla Sun Life Insurance has, once again, opened a new chapter in the history of Life Insurance in India, whereby we envision setting new levels of service, new standards in underwriting and improving quality of underwriting and risks involved," said Vikram Mehmi, President & CEO, Birla Sun Life Insurance. "Quality and standardization of medical reports and effective handling of underwriting and operations are the benefits to be reaped by this initiative. Birla Sun Life Insurance is happy to associate with Quest Diagnostics, which works with Sun Life Financial in some countries, and is an established name world-wide in providing diagnostic services."
Demand for insurance products in India has grown significantly in recent years, driven by deregulation of the insurance industry in 2000 and a growing middle class with the disposable income to buy insurance policies. It has been predicted that the premium market for India's blossoming life insurance sector, now at $40 billion, will more than double to as much as $100 billion by 2012.
"Quest Diagnostics, through its ExamOne risk-assessment business in the U.S., has more than 30 years of experience providing medical screening, diagnostic testing and other risk assessment services to leading insurance companies in North America," said Janak Singh Bajwa, managing director, Quest Diagnostics India Pvt. Ltd. "Through our agreement with Birla Sun Life, we bring to India a level of expertise in health assessment, testing, and related services that has, until now, been largely absent from the country's booming life insurance market. As India's insurance market continues its fast paced growth, we look forward to delivering services that will enable Birla Sun Life to drive quality and cost efficiencies in its underwriting process."
Customer experience during the medical examination is an important touch- point for life insurance sales. To ensure standardization and a quality experience, Birla Sun Life Insurance has been evaluating processes which would result in consistent and positive experience across the country. The Quest Diagnostics partnership has been forged with this objective.
Quest Diagnostics will provide a range of health management services to Birla Sun Life, including laboratory testing through its new 65,000 square- foot diagnostic testing facility in Gurgaon, as well as case management and appointment scheduling of medical exams by trained and credentialed physicians. Quest Diagnostics will serve Birla Sun Life using the company's proprietary ExamView medical services and CaseView laboratory-test ordering and reporting software, which is used by the company's risk assessment business, ExamOne, based in Lenexa, Kansas, to serve insurance companies in up to 20 countries around the world.
"This arrangement is significant and important in the journey of Birla Sun Life Insurance," added Mr. Mehmi. "We are embarking on the phase of the pilot in two cities. Transition from other centers will happen in a phased manner. We will use our learning's to enhance our processes so that we have happy customers. It is also a proud moment for us as we have insured over 2 million lives."
About Birla Sun Life Insurance
Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture between The Aditya Birla Group, one of the largest business houses in India and Sun Life Financial Inc., a leading international financial services organization. The local knowledge of the Aditya Birla Group combined with the expertise of Sun Life Financial Inc., offers a formidable protection for your future.
Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI), in its six successful years of operations, has contributed significantly to the growth and development of the life insurance industry in India. It pioneered the launch of Unit Linked Life Insurance plans amongst the private players in India. It was the first player in the industry to sell its policies through the Bancassurance route and through the Internet. It was the first private sector player to introduce a pure Term plan in the Indian market. This was supported by sales practices, which brought a degree of transparency that was entirely new to the market. The process of getting sales illustrations signed by customers, offering a free look period on all policies, which are now industry standards were introduced by BSLI. Being a customer centric company, BSLI has invested heavily in technology to build world class processing capabilities. BSLI has covered more than a million lives since inception and its customer base is spread across more than 1,500 towns and cities in India. All this has assisted the company in cementing its place amongst the leaders in the industry in terms of new business premium income. Additional information is available at www.birlasunlife.com.
About Aditya Birla Group
The Aditya Birla Group has a turnover close to Rs.49,440 crores (for the one year period ending March 31st, 2007) 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 88,000 employees and has 7 lakh shareholders, with a market capitalization of Rs.82,400 crores. In India, the Group has been adjudged "The Best Employer in India and among the top 20 in Asia" by the Hewitt-Economic Times and Wall Street Journal Study 2007. Additional information is available at www.adityabirla.com
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 March 31st, 2007, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of US$386.82 billion. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under ticker symbol "SLF". Additional information can be found at www.sunlife.com.
About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics is the leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its national network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative new diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional company information is available www.questdiagnostics.com.
This communication contains certain forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements, which may include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the life insurance market in India and the contract with Birla Sun Life, are based on publicly-reported information and management's current expectations and estimates and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Certain of these risks and uncertainties may include, but are not limited to the uncertain development of the life insurance market in India and the risks and uncertainties described in the Quest Diagnostics Incorporated 2006 Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated