Non-life insurers see around 12% growth in December premiums

Source: Business Standard, Jan 13, 2021

Mumbai: Non-life insurers have recorded around 12 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in gross premiums underwritten in December. This comes after low single-digit growth in November and contraction in September and October.

In December, non-life insurers — that include general insurers, standalone health insurers and specialised PSU insurers — reported gross premium underwritten to the tune of Rs 17,935.97 crore, compared to Rs 16,048.86 crore in the same period last year. In November, they had reported a 2.7 per cent growth in premium, while in October and September, premiums earned declined 0.41 per cent and 4.41 per cent, respectively.

While general insurers, 25 in total, collected Rs 15,491.12 crore premium in December this year, up 10.59 per cent YoY, the standalone health insurer’s premium went up more than 5 per cent in the same period over last year.

In December, among state-owned insurers, New India Assurance and National Insurance Company were in the green with 16.02 per cent and 42.10 per cent premium growth, respectively, over last year. Among private insurers, Bajaj Allianz general insurance reported a 22.73 per cent growth in premiums, HDFC Ergo a little over 40 per cent growth, ICICI Lombard saw a 10.52 per cent rise and IFFCO Tokio recorded a 14 per cent growth.

Furthermore, in the April-December period of FY21, the general insurers’ premium totalled Rs 1.25 trillion, up 1.14 per cent over last year. Apart from New India Assurance, all the other three state-owned gene­ral insurance firms were in the red during this period.

As far as private insurers are concerned, apart from HDFC Ergo, which reported a 26 per cent growth, all the other private insurers, with sizeable market share have reported low single-digit growth in premiums. Standalone health insurers, on the other hand, reported a 7 per cent rise in premiums in April–December of FY21, with growth being driven by the retail health segment.

Government schemes and overseas health insurance (travel) proved to be the dampener.

On an industry level, the first nine months of FY21 has seen non-life industry premiums grow by 2.53 per cent to Rs 1.45 trillion, compared to Rs 1.42 trillion in the same period of last financial year. Growth in the non-life industry has been primarily driven by health, followed by the fire segment. With gradual opening of the economy, motor insurance segment has picked up but without a hike in third party premium rates, the growth is muted. Crop insurance, on the other hand, remains a challenge for the industry, going forward.

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