Premium growth slows to 9 pct in Oct, Nov as auto sales fall

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Mumbai | December 14, 2014 2:51 PM

After clipping at 12-13 per cent growth in the first half, the incremental premium income of the Rs 80,000-crore general insurance industry...

The industry led by four public sector general insurers has mobilised a total premium of Rs 49,000 crore till October as against Rs 44,800 crore in October 2013. (PTI)The industry led by four public sector general insurers has mobilised a total premium of Rs 49,000 crore till October as against Rs 44,800 crore in October 2013. (PTI)

After clipping at 12-13 per cent growth in the first half, the incremental premium income of the Rs 80,000-crore general insurance industry has plunged to single-digits in both October and November due to sharp fall in motor insurance premium, say industry experts.

Though the general insurance industry with 28 players has recorded 9 per cent growth in total premium income during October and November, insurers are hopeful that things will improve during the remaining part of the fiscal.

The industry led by four public sector general insurers has mobilised a total premium of Rs 49,000 crore till October as against Rs 44,800 crore in October 2013. In November, this stood at Rs 55,000 against Rs 50,300 crore in the year-ago month.

The motor insurance segment is the largest premium generating area for the industry and has generated Rs 21,000 in October and Rs 24,000 crore in November this year.

Next to the motor portfolio is the health insurance segment, which has contributed over Rs 13,000 crore in November and Rs 11,600 crore in October, according to Irda data.

The negative growth by the specialised insurers has pulled down the overall growth.

For both October and November, growth of specialised insurers has fallen by 12-13 percent, Irda said.

The four public sector companies with Rs 24,700 crore in October and Rs 27,800 crore in November have managed to retain double-digit growth of 10-11 per cent, whereas the 24 private players recorded single-digit growth in both the months.

“We have been able to manage double-digit growth in both October and November as people prefer services of state-owned insurers over private sector ones,” Oriental Insurance Chairman and Managing Director AK Saxena told PTI.

Private sector player ICICI Lombard, which gets 40 per cent of its total premium income from motor insurance, has witnessed a fall in the premium income collection to single-digit in both October and November, which it blamed on poor sales of new vehicles during the period.

“Our income from motor insurance premium has fallen below 10 percent in October and November, primarily because new car sales have been falling,” ICICI Lombard head of underwritings and claims Sanjay Datta said.

He, however, expressed the hope that auto sales will slowly come back on track during the remaining months of the current fiscal year.

Another private sector player, Reliance General Insurance, which gets as much as 57 per cent of its total premium income from motor insurance, saw its new premium income falling by 2 percentage points to 10 per cent during the period under observation.

“We have been able to increase premium under the motor insurance segment by a moderate 10 per cent during October and November, as against 12 per cent growth in the first half,” Reliance General Insurance chief executive Rakesh Jain said.

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