Bupa Increases Stake in Indian Health Insurer

In this iPMI Global Insights article, International Health Insurance 2023 report author, Ian Youngman, takes a look at the Bupa deal in India with Niva Bupa.

About The Author

Ian Youngman is a writer and researcher specialising in insurance. He writes regularly for a variety of magazines, newsletters, and on-line services. He publishes a range of market reports, and undertakes research for companies.  

News Summary

  • Bupa increases stake in Indian health Insurer Niva Bupa to 63% by buying 20% stake from True North.
  • The stake is worth USD$325 million.
  • The move comes as India's insurance industry is experiencing strong growth amidst increasing awareness and demand for health insurance.
  • True North bought a 51% majority stake from Max in Max Bupa Health Insurance (now Niva Bupa Health Insurance) in 2019.
  • True North became Niva Bupa's majority shareholder in 2019.
  • Since 2019 True North has worked closely with Bupa on implementing a successful strategy for Niva Bupa.
  • The joint venture partners have worked closely to put Niva Bupa on a strong growth trajectory, adding new products, setting up a multi-channel distribution network and making the business increasingly customer-centric.
  • In FY 23, Niva Bupa became the third-largest retail health insurer, expanding its presence to nearly every district in the country.
  • Bupa was an original minority investor in Max Bupa Health in 2008.
  • The business has grown 4x in the last 4 years.
  • Niva Bupa has 200 offices pan India.
  • It offers health insurance through its 20+ bank partners spread across 45,000+ branches.
  • Niva Bupa covers 10 million lives.
  • Niva Bupa has 10,000+ hospitals as part of its network where customers can get cashless treatment.
  • Niva Bupa has 7500 employees.
  • Bupa is an international healthcare company with 43 million customers worldwide.
  • Bupa employs 82,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Türkiye, Brazil, Mexico, the USA, Middle East and Ireland.
  • Bupa has an associate business in Saudi Arabia.
  • True North is a leading Indian private equity firms with a focus on investing in and transforming mid-sized profitable businesses into large, well-established businesses that are valuable, enduring and socially responsible.


  • This transaction will mean Bupa becoming Niva Bupa's majority shareholder.
  • The company has eaten massive amounts of capital and there is a limit on how much True North can fund.
  • So Bupa became a majority shareholder to provide a shareholder permanence to the business.
  • This move underscores Bupa’s strategic intent to expand its presence in India’s evolving healthcare insurance.
  • The middle class is the fastest-growing major segment of the Indian population in both percentage and absolute terms, representing 31% of the population and expected to be 38% by 2031 and 60 % in 2047.
  • The middle class buy of health insurance.
  • The population is 1430 million reaching 1460 million soon.
  • The health insurance sector has been growing annually at the rate of over 20%.
  • India's retail health insurance segment has the potential to become a $25bn market in the next five years according to a 2023 research study.
  • The health insurance industry is at an embryonic stage, with roughly 25% of the population covered. There exists a huge potential for growth and penetration of health insurance to a larger population.

What Next?

  • All is subject to approval by Indian insurance regulator IRDAI.
  • There seems to be no reason for IRDAI to object.
  • Niva Bupa It is one of the fastest-growing health insurance companies in India with annual growth of 40%.
  • True North has expressed confidence in Bupa’s leadership and its capabilities to steer Niva Bupa Insurance into its next phase of growth,
  • Future growth options for Niva Bupa could include public listing of business within 15 months depending on market conditions.
  • There comes a time for capital market listing once the business has achieved a certain scale.
  • Before that there is also a second leg to the transaction that will involve a primary capital raise of Rs 800 crores from financial investors.
  • True North may reduce the remaining 37% to 28% with 2% to management and 7% to investors.
  • True North has held advanced discussions with a consortium of financial investors which includes Temasek, Motilal Oswal Private Equity, Paragon Partners and SBI Life for the proposed primary round, following which the consortium may end up holding a 7 % stake in Niva Bupa.
  • There are few Indian companies in the standalone health insurance segment.
  • As these businesses grow they need more capital so there will be more deals.

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