It gives me immense pleasure to share with you that we have had yet another successfulyear just on the verge of the onset of the centenary year of your Company's foundation.Your Company had a great year in terms of financial performance vis-a-vis the Industry'sperformance and had a few prominent achievements and new initiatives taken in the fiscal2017-18.
Continuing the successful growth story your Company attained historical highs in termsof Gross Written Premium and Profit after Tax in the last fiscal. Your Company continued arobust premium growth in the FY 2018 in spite of extremely competitive and dynamicbusiness environment. Your Company continues to be the market leader with a market shareof 15.06%. It recorded a global premium of Rs. 26554 crore recording a growth of 15%. Therobust growth was observed across all the Regions. Your Company recorded a Profit AfterTax of Rs. 2201 crores. The Net worth of the Company including fair value is Rs. 38301crore and the asset base now stands at Rs. 76904 crore. The solvency ratio of the companycontinues to be high at 2.58 times. In the first year of listing itself your Companydeclared total dividend of Rs.8.75 per share @ 175% on the face value of share. The Boardof the Company has also recommended the issue of one bonus share per share of the Company.I take the opportunity to congratulate all the Shareholders on this great performance tomark the beginning of the 100th year of successful operations.
In the last fiscal Your Company was the leader not only in terms of the overall marketshare but also across all Lines of Business. Your Company's growth is keeping pace withthe Industry growth and the financials continue to grow stronger year on year.
Today with a strong network of 2472 offices online portals various distributionchannels strong sales force and presence in 28 countries the company has it's reach tothe customers across geographies and continually is increasing the same. It has not onlygrown stronger in financials or technology aspect but has done well on the human resourcefront. Today the Company has a competent workforce of around 18000 employees and has beeninducting new employees both in the Executive as well as Clerical cadre. The marketdynamics demand skilled workforce for which the company has devised intensive trainingprogrammes for the employees. The Company has also been recruiting new agents and securingbusiness from other new intermediaries & business channels too.
The performance of the company was well recognized by country and it received a fewprestigious awards during the year. The prominent ones among them were the Dun &Bradstreet India's Leading General Insurance Company (Public) Award 2018 Outlook MoneyAwards 2017: Health Insurance Award Outlook Money Awards 2017: Non-Life Insurance Awardand the Dalal Street Investment Journal 2017 Roll of Honour for Highest Market Share inGross Premium of 5 years.
Our Country's economy is doing good. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in it'sreport had reaffirmed that India will be the fastest growing major economy in 2018 witha growth rate of 7.4 per cent that rises to 7.8 per cent in 2019 with medium-termprospects remaining positive. Asia continues to be both the fastest-growing region in theworld giving thrust to the global economy. Asia contributes more than 60 per cent ofglobal growth and three-quarters of this comes from two major economies i.e. India andChina.
This is a very favourable scenario for the General Insurance Industry. The GeneralInsurance industry's growth is directly proportional to the growth of the Gross DomesticProduct (GDP) of the country which means an increase in manufacturing service andinfrastructure activities would contribute to growth of the general insurance sector.India has become one of the top priority emerging markets in the global insurance businessindustry. However India's general insurance penetration has been hovering in the range of0.7-0.8% much lower than the global average of 2.8% and penetration of between 1.6-1.8%in the Asian economies of China Malaysia and Thailand. The insurance density too at USD13.2 in 2016 is much lower than the global average of around USD 285.
An analysis of various general insurance product lines indicates significant potentialfor growth across the board as penetration in India is much lower than global benchmarks.As of fiscal 2016 only 34% of Indians have a health insurance policy either provided byvoluntary insurance or government schemes. While retail home loans worth around Rs 14trillion were outstanding as of March 2017 retail property insurance premiums are noteven a fraction of this amount. The scenario is similar when one looks at thecorporate-focused lines such as engineering fire and marine insurance with penetrationestimated to be less than 1% of industrial GDP.
The low penetration levels indicate great opportunity for growth for the generalinsurance industry. We have been constantly innovating new products keeping in view thedemand of the industry as per customer needs. The customer awareness levels are also verylow which needs to be improved for balanced and sustainable growth of the insuranceindustry. Your Company has constantly focused on the need to increase the insurancepenetration and awareness in the country aiming towards an inclusive growth. It hasopened 70 new micro offices during the year to increase it's reach to the untouchedpopulation. Alternative distribution channels digital marketing strategy online portalsand increasing number of insurance agents and other intermediaries have greatly helped inincreasing the reach to the customers as well as creating insurance awareness among thepublic.
The Government as well as the Regulator has also taken many pro-industry initiatives.The Government's introduction of the RERA Act Aayushmaan Bharat Yojana Mudra YojanaSaubhagya Scheme Udaan Scheme etc have all given a boost to the Industry. The amendmentof the Motor Vehicles Act which introduces strong penalties for road traffic ruleviolations Improvement in issuing licenses registration process for new vehicles etc isalso viewed as a very good move for the Motor Line of business. There have also beenseveral positive regulatory changes introduced by the regulator that has made the businessenvironment conducive for growth. IRDAI has introduced various pro-industry regulationsand guidelines in the recent past. Motor Insurance Service provider guidelines issued byIRDAI will greatly help the industry in regulating the motor insurance business sourcedthrough motor dealers. Your Company has been a major participant in implementing thegovernment sponsored schemes. We have actively participated in various schemes of theGovernment of India viz PMFBY many state Government sponsored schemes etc. Cropinsurance has grown significantly in the last fiscal and accounted for nearly 16% of theoverall industry premium in the FY 2017-18. We also see a greater role in the proposedNational Health Protection Scheme.
In the last fiscal New India issued 29.7 million policies and processed 4.9 millionclaims. We have initiated steps for speedier settlement of claims as well as to make theclaim settlements hassle free. We have also taken few initiatives in the direction ofEnterprise Risk Management and Information technology viz introduction of DesktopManagement System Pan-India basis and Aadhar authentication for Employees.
Your Company continue on it's domestic as well as Global expansion plans. There were 70new domestic offices opened during the year and few offices were upgraded too. The companyhas already obtained license to operate in Dubai Financial Centre. We are also in theprocess of registering with Qatar Financial Centre Doha. As of now nearly 15 % of NewIndia's business comes from the international market.
The rising income surge in the middle class young population with increaseddisposable incomes inflation under control are the factors that will induce rapid growthin the insurance business. With economic growth gradually picking up and increase in themanufacturing services and infrastructure activities we expect the growth trajectory ofthe general insurance sector as well as the Company to remain strong in the next fewyears. We have a very clear future strategy of premium growth with profitability. YourCompany is adequately capitalized and have a comfortable solvency margin much above themandatory level of 1.5. We intend to bring down the Incurred Claim Ratio and Combinedratio gradually year by year till we reach the desired level in order to ensureprofitability along with a growth rate keeping in the line with the growing market. We aimto retain our leadership position in the market as well as in all lines of business. Iwish to thank all the Stakeholders Board of Directors Customers AssociatesIntermediaries and all New Indians for their continued support and co-operation in takingthe Company to greater heights.