Italian insurance company Generali has recently announced plans to add 2 million new policy holders in India with one of its biggest products going towards women who earn less than one euro per day. Generali has been working with BWDA Finance, a microfinance institution based in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The new insurance product will provide accident and hospitalization coverage.

Generali, one of Europe’s three largest insurers and the first to go big in China, on Thursday announced plans to add as many as 2 million new policy holders in India.

India is an increasingly coveted market for European companies, as witnessed by Tesco and Wal-Mart pounding on its door and the scramble, apparently won this week by Dassault, to negotiate a huge fighter-jet contract with New Delhi.

One of Generali’s main products is aimed at women peasants with household income of less than a euro a day. Obviously this isn’t about Generali’s P&L. It’s part of an effort to support the United Nations’ Millennium goals.

Generali, working with BWDA Finance, a local microfinance institution based in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has put together a “microinsurance” plan providing accident cover and hospitalization expenses. Another pillar of the India project is an effort to enable small-time employers to provide their workers with accident insurance, using a low-cost online portal that involves some bulk purchasing.

Some larger multinational industry players have shown interest, so Generali may soon leverage its efforts into serious revenue, CEO Giovanni Perissinotto said while outlining the initiative in Milan..

The program is “another step in our path to responsible growth,” and will probably be replicated in other developing countries, he said. But it’s not “new sustainability policies and codes” that matter to the insurer, he said, saying Trieste-based Generali has always had such codes, along with an “ability to avoid the temptations or profit.” Proof of its resilience in the euro zone sovereign debt crisis – Generali is one of the biggest investors in Italian government bonds – lies in the fact that it boosted its Italian work force last year, Mr. Perissinotto said.