Specialised insurance cos to boost next phase of growth: Irda chief

Written by fe Bureau | Hyderabad | Updated: Apr 22 2014, 09:26am hrs
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) chairman TS Vijayan has pushed for specialised insurance companies for the next phase of growth in the country. The specialised firms would offer unique products in areas such as export credit, disaster management, agri-business and health.

Speaking at the inauguration of the bank business branch of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC), he said the importance for specialised insurance companies is rising by the day. The insurance regulator stressed on the need to increase exports to overcome the current account deficit problem with insurance playing a pivotal role in credit guarantee. ECGC got registered with Irda in 2002 and is promoting Indian exports with a variety of insurance products to exporters and bankers. It provides export credit insurance facilities to exporters and banks in the country.

On the sector trends, Vijayan said growth has returned in the insurance industry as both life and non-life segments performed better in 2013-14. New premium collections in the life insurance sector grew by 12% for the year ended March, 2014, compared to a 6% drop in new premium collections in the year-ago period. The growth in the non-life sector was around 13%. During 2012-13, the total premium in life and non-life insurance stood at R2.87 lakh crore and R63,000 crore.

He said the focus was back into the group policies in the life insurance segment while traditional life products were showing good traction of late and expected health insurance would lead the insurance sectors growth in the current year. As per the provisional figures, in the non-life segment, the growth in total business premium collections in 2013-14 was around 13% at R63,000 crore.

Meanwhile, ECGC said that it will be offering direct factoring facilities for micro, small and medium exporters (MSME) for select sectors in FY2014-15. The facilities will be based on strict underwriting for select clients and commodities. The corporation had recently introduced a new country-risk rating for the benefit of MSME. The ECGC, which has 62 branches now, would be opening three new branches in Chennai, Ahmedabad and Kollam soon.