General insurance companies started the current financial year on a positive note with gross direct premium in April growing by around 12% year-on-year (Y-o-Y).
Data from the General Insurance Council shows that private players have continued to register higher growth compared to their public sector peers.
In April, the gross premium income of the general insurance industry stood at Rs 10,525.35 crore, against Rs 9,404.36 crore in April last year. While gross premium income of private insurers in April was at Rs 4,606.40 crore, up 13.1% compared to the year-ago period, public sector insurance companies witnessed growth of 11% at Rs 5,484.45 crore.
R Chandrasekaran, secretary general at the General Insurance Council, said: “Even though public sector insurers have market share of around 52-53%, competition is getting tougher. Efforts are on by general insurers to retain their current market share and there is immense competition between all players for new business premiums.”
He believes that going forward, there will be equal growth for all insurers and more private players might enter the market.
In the last financial year, the general insurance sector saw premium income at Rs 96,402.37 crore, compared with Rs 84,685.69 crore in 2014-15. Private sector companies’ premium income stood at Rs 39,701.12 crore in the previous fiscal, against Rs 35,090.06 crore in FY15.
Apart from general insurers, standalone health insurance companies reported 27.2% surge in their premium income in April. “Retail investors are being more aware about having insurance like health and personal accident policy. With the economy showing recovery, there is demand even from the corporate sector. I believe that going forward market share will be stabilised between private players and public sector insurers,” said G Srinivasan, chairman-cum-managing director at New India Assurance.
Data from the General Insurance Council also shows that standalone health insurance companies saw premium income at Rs 4,153.77 crore in FY16, compared with Rs 2,942.56 crore in 2014-15. In April, they saw premium income at Rs 318.37 crore, against Rs 249.30 crore during the same month last year.
Industry officials are of the view that most of the growth in April came primarily from the motor and fire insurance.