General insurance companies in India posted a growth of 16% in gross direct premium in May 2017. Senior officials in the insurance industry say that health, motor and fire insurance led the growth in the month of May. The data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) shows that, in the first two months of the financial year, gross direct premium underwritten by the industry was Rs21,801.22 crore compared with Rs18,796.55 crore last May, a growth of 16%.
During April-May, private sector insurers grew at 23% and received Rs9,987.87 crore in gross direct premium. Public sector insurers saw lower growth compared to private peers at just 9.65%, receiving Rs10,675.47 crore in gross direct premium in April-May. Among the public sector insurers, New India Assurance and National Insurance saw double-digit growth at over 15.52% and 10.67%, respectively, in the current financial year. But Oriental Insurance and United India Insurance saw single-digit growth. All the four public sector insurers have a combined market share of 48.97%, while 18 private sector insurers have market share of 45.81%. Among the private players, ICICI Lombard leads with a market share of 9.85%, followed by Bajaj Allianz at 5.95% and HDFC Ergo at 5.24% , shows the data from Irdai.
In the last financial year, the general insurance industry had seen a record growth of around 32%, largely due to the success of crop insurance. Industry participants are hopeful that even this year the industry would register growth of 18-20%. “Though growth has been in the range of 15-20% in the first two months of the current fiscal and growth has been coming mainly from motor and health insurance, we are hopeful that in the next few months, when there will be renewal for crop insurance, the industry will see higher growth,” said a top insurance player. According to senior officials, the general insurance sector has received around Rs22,000 crore from crop insurance and this financial year industry players are hopeful that the number will be around Rs32,000-35,000 crore from crop insurance.
Apart from general insurance, standalone health insurance companies also saw surge in their premium income by 43.73% in May. “In the years to come, general insurance industry will see crop insurance and health insurance emerging as among the most important categories. Also, fire and motor insurance will continue to remain focus for general insurance industry,” said a senior official from a leading public sector insurance company.