General insurance companies continued their positive performance and posted about 32% growth in gross direct premium in the current financial year till February. In January, premiums had crossed R1 lakh crore for the first time, largely due to the growth in health and motor insurance along with new crop insurance scheme.
The data from General Insurance Council (GIC) shows that, up to February gross direct premium underwritten by the industry was R1.13 lakh crore compared to R86,526 crore last February, a growth of 31.69%. While private insurers registered gross premium income at R47,996.65 crore up by 33.8% compared to last year, public sector insurance companies saw growth of 24.47% at R53,102.70 crore in the current financial year.
Private sector insurers registered higher growth compared to public sector insurers, largely due to strong growth in crop insurance segment. According to senior officials, the general insurance segment has received R14,000-16,000 crore from crop insurance and premium is likely to touch R18,000-20,000 crore by the end of the current financial year. The GIC data shows growth of specialised players like ECGC and AIC also saw strong growth in February.
In the past few months. there has been sustained growth and higher participation from private general insurers compared to their public sector peers.
“Private insurers have done much better compared to public sector insurers because of third-party motor insurance which is big part of the new premiums and also due to crop insurance. Though many insurers are making underwriting losses in motor insurance, increase in premiums from the next financial year would provide some relief to the insurers,” said a top insurance player.
In February, the general insurance segment saw gross premium income at R10,287.72 crore against R7,760.81 crore in February last year. Standalone health insurers also saw surge in their premium income by 43.77% in February.