General insurers delivered 17% year-on-year (y-o-y) (ex crop) growth in premiums in December 2020; higher than 5% y-o-y growth in November 2020 and 7% y-o-y in October 2020. This translated to 10% growth for Q3FY21. Motor inched up further to 14% y-o-y growth in December 2020 from 3-7% y-o-y over October-November 2020 (up 8% y-o-y in 3QFY21 compared to 4% y-o-y decline in Q2FY21).
Retail health moderated during the quarter to 23% y-o-y growth in 3QFY21 (up 43% y-o-y in Q2FY21) owing to a gradual decrease in risk aversion among retail customers, though December was better month-on-month (m-o-m). SBI and Tata AIG continued to report stellar growth (up 26% y-o-y ex crop). ICICI Lombard and Chola MS were up 10% y-o-y and 8% y-o-y, respectively in Q3FY21 while Bajaj General lagged industry average at 3% yoy.
Motor continues to improve
Motor premiums increased 14% y-o-y in December 2020; up from 7% y-o-y growth in November 2020, 3% y-o-y growth in October 2020 and 4% y-o-y decline in 2QFY21. Increasing new vehicle sales and strong momentum in retail sales during the festive season supported overall growth. Gradual rise in freight volumes and utilisation rates supported premiums.
Motor premiums increased 8% y-o-y in Q3FY21; up from trough levels of 13% y-o-y decline in H1FY21. GIC Council has bifurcated motor premiums into (1) motor OD, (2) motor TP and (3) motor package products. While the mix is non-available across a time series, motor packages products were down 12% y-o-y in 9MFY21 (overall motor premiums down 6% y-o-y) and constituted 75% of overall motor premiums in 9MFY21 (80% in 9MFY20).
Retail health moderating
Retail health was up 25% y-o-y in December 2020 (up 23% y-o-y in Q3FY21 compared to 43% y-o-y in Q2FY21). Moderation in retail health is led by gradual softening in risk aversion among probable customers as overall Covid-19 cases continue to decline. Private players (excluding HDFC Ergo General) were up 30% y-o-y in December 2020. Premium for standalone health insurers (excluding HDFC Ergo Health) was up 26% y-o-y in December 2020 (up 17% y-o-y in November 2020). This has slowed down from peak levels of 57-66% y-o-y growth observed over August-October 2020. Retail health insurance for standalone health insurers was up 24% y-o-y in December 2020; moderating in Q3FY21 (up 17% y-o-y in November 2020 and 30% y-o-y in October 2020) from 40-48% over June-September 2020.
Edited extracts from Kotak Institutional Equities Research report