General insurance companies saw their gross direct premium grow 17% to Rs 1.5 lakh crore in financial year 2017-18, data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) showed. Growth in the non-life sector was largely fuelled by a surge in health and motor insurance, said market participants. Industry players feels that implementation of National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) in this financial year should further boost growth of the industry.
New India Assurance continued its dominant position in the industry with a market share of 15.07%, while in the private sector ICICI Lombard retained the slot with a market share of 8.2%. The four public sector insurers had a market share of about 45% in the last fiscal compared to 46% in financial year 2016-17.
Senior officials in the industry said that the corporate segment was yet to pick-up, but once Indian economic growth improves, an increase may even be seen in segments like fire, marine and engineering insurance. Ritesh Kumar, MD & CEO, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company said, “The growth of the industry was in line with the expectations and industry saw increase in motor and health category. We expect health segment to grow even further with launch of NHPS this year.” He also added that, last year growth of the industry was due to the first year of crop insurance.
In the financial year 2016-17, general insurance companies had posted a growth of around 32%, largely due to the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), which had garnered premiums of about `20,000 crore. Senior officials in the industry say that in the last fiscal crop insurance premiums amounted to over `24,000 crore.
Apart from general insurance, stand alone health insurance companies also saw a surge in their premium collections at 41.61% in 2017-18. “Motor and health categories now constitute around 50-55% of the business and,” said a senior executive with an insurer.