Gross premium underwritten by non-life insurers in January grew 6.7 per cent year on year (YoY) to Rs 18,488 crore compared to Rs 17,333.7 crore in the year ago period. This comes after a double digit growth in premiums in December and low single-digit growth witnessed in November, which was preceded by contraction in September and October.
General insurers, 25 in total, collected Rs 16,247.34 crore premium in January, up 10.8 per cent compared to the same period a year ago. The standalone health insurers, surprisingly, saw a marginal contraction of 1.33 per cent in premiums collected in January at Rs 1,510.20 crore compared to Rs 1,530.70 crore in the year ago period. This could be indicative of the fact that growth in health insurance segment might be tapering off as the fear of Covid subsides among consumers.
Of the four state owned general insurers, New India Assurance’s premium collection jumped 20 per cent to Rs 2,473.69 crore in January and United India Insurance saw its premium go up marginally, while the other two witnessed a contraction in their premium collection. Recently, in the Union Budget of 2021-22, the Finance Minister said they are looking to privatise one of the state owned general insurers.
Among the large private players, ICICI Lombard’s premium collection move up by 3.68 per cent, HDFC Ergo’s premiums jumped 42 per cent, and IFFCO Tokio’s premium grew by 10 per cent while Bajaj Allianz General saw its premium contract 7 per cent.
As far as year to date (YTD) premiums are concerned, general insurers have shown a 2 per cent growth to Rs 1.4 trillion and stand-alone health insurers have registered an 8 per cent growth. Overall, the non-life insurance industry registered a 2.7 per cent growth in its YTD premiums to Rs 1.63 trillion compared to Rs 1.59 trillion in the same period of last financial year.
While health segment, especially retail health segment has driven growth in the non-life insurance industry, with gradual opening up of the economy, motor insurance segment has picked up but without a hike in third party premium rates, the growth remains muted. Crop insurance, on the other hand, remains a challenge for the industry, going forward. According a report by India Ratings and Research, health insurance segment is expected to grow at higher double-digits in the medium term, with private players growing even faster as they have been gaining market share over public sector firms and also because of the increase in premium prices due to medical inflation.