SBI Life Insurance, a joint venture between the State Bank of India (SBI) and BNP Paribas Assurance, plans to launch a health insurance product by the end of July 2008. The company has already filed for the product with the insurance regulator and is awaiting its approval. “We have already filed with the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) for launching a health (critical illness) product and awaiting the regulators approval”, Uday Shankar Roy, managing director and chief utive officer (CEO), SBI Life said. He said, it will be a critical illness policy offering a cover for seven critical ailments with a hospital cash feature. It will be sold through the SBI and associated banks network initially and may be sold directly through hospitals later. In normal medi-claim policy cash is paid to the hospital, but in the proposed policy the insured will be paid a lumpsum each time an ailment covered under the policy is detected. The new product will be a stand-alone health insurance product which will provide cover for seven life-threatening diseases such as cancer, blood pressure, heart attack. About the features of this product, Roy said, it will be done on a good health declaration, which is very critical in all the health insurance products. “It will have the group advantage and as such the premium will be low”, he added. SBI Life expects the total premium to cross Rs 10,000 crore mark by the end of the current fiscal from 5622 crore by the end of the previous fiscal. While it achieved a growth rate of 91 percent over last year, the company is hopeful of maintaining the same growth rate during 2008-09. As a measure to achieve the business target, the private insurer plans to open 250 more branches during the current fiscal across the country. This will be in addition to the 180 branches that the company has at present. “We have sought the regulator’s approval for opening 250 branches during the current fiscal. We will open these branches as soon as the approval is obtained”, Roy said.