Gross premium underwritten by non-life insurers, which include general insurers, standalone health insurers, and specialised PSU insurers, in March grew by 23 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 19,298.85 crore from Rs 15,635.42 crore in the year-ago period. For the full year (FY21), however, the non-life insurers recorded a 5.2 per cent growth in premiums at Rs 1.98 trillion over Rs 1.88 trillion in FY20.
In March, general insurers, 25 in total, recorded a 15 per cent growth in premiums to Rs 15,683.39 crore from Rs 13,685.87 crore in the year-ago period while in FY21, they saw their premiums go up by only 3.35 per cent over FY20 at Rs 1.69 trillion.
It was a peculiar year for the general insurers as the motor segment, which is the biggest portfolio in a general insurance companies’ book, saw a huge contraction in the initial months of the pandemic due to the strict lockdown in place but has since slowly recovered as the economy opened up. On the other hand, health insurance premiums have seen a huge uptick as demand for health products, especially retail ones’, surged since the onset of the pandemic. Crop insurance, on the other hand, remains a challenge for the industry, going forward.
Among the large private insurance companies, ICICI Lombard recorded a 5 per cent growth in premiums in FY21 while Bajaj Allianz General saw its premiums de-grow by almost 2 per cent in the same period. HDFC Ergo, on the other hand, saw its premium collection rise 27.68 per cent in FY21 over FY 20.
Of the four state-owned general insurers, New India Assurance’s premium collection jumped 6.22 per cent in FY21 while United India Insurance, Oriental Insurance, and National Insurance Company saw their premiums de-grow by 4.59 per cent, 8.93 per cent, and 7.08 per cent, respectively. Recently, in the Union Budget of 2021-22, the Finance Minister said they are looking to privatise one of the state-owned general insurers.
In March, the standalone health insurers saw their premium income go up by 41 per cent to Rs 2,185 crore compared to Rs 1,545.83 crore in the year-ago period. In the full year (FY21), premium income of standalone health insurers went up by 11 per cent to Rs 15,720 crore.