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June, 2010

The US$ 41-billion Indian life insurance industry is considered the fifth largest life insurance market, and growing at a rapid pace of 32-34 per cent annually, according to the Life Insurance Council.

Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) registered an 83 per cent increase in new business income in March 2010, while private players posted a 47 per cent growth in new business premium.

Moreover, according to IRDA, insurers sold 10.55 million new policies in 2009-10 with LIC selling 8.52 million and private companies 2.03 million policies. At the end of March 2010, LIC held 65 per cent market share in terms of new business income collection with the private sector contributing the remaining 35 per cent share in 2009-10.

According to IRDA, total premium collected in 2009-10 was US$ 24.64 billion, an increase of 25.46 per cent over US$ 19.64 billion collected in 2008-09.

A growth of 18 per cent is expected in total premium income and is likely to cross the US$ 64.93 billion mark, according to B Mathur, Secretary General, Life Insurance Council.

General Insurance

Vehicle financing firm, Magma Fincorp has applied to IRDA for approval and expects clearance in 2010. The firm is entering the general insurance business in a joint venture with Germany-based company HDI-Gerling International Holding AG.

According to data released by IRDA, the general insurance industry recorded 13.42 per cent growth in gross premium collected during 2009-10. The industry collected gross premium of US$ 7.84 billion in 2009-10 compared with US$ 6.91 billion in 2008-09.

The public sector players posted 13.85 per cent growth in gross premium in 2009-10. At the same time, private players recorded a 12.82 per cent increase in gross premium till March 2010.

During April-May 2010, non-life insurers mopped up US$ 1.59 billion against US$ 1.34 billion in the previous year, registering an increase of 19 per cent according to IRDA data.

The four state-run insurers fared better than their private counterparts, with New India Insurance collecting the maximum premium of US$ 294.5 million in April and May 2010, compared to US$ 253.15 million in the previous year, growing by 16.34 per cent.

According to the IRDA's Summary Reports of Motor Data of Public and Private Sector Insurers - 2008-09, nearly 30 million vehicle policies were issued and a total premium worth US$ 1.83 billion was collected.

Health Insurance

The Indian health insurance market has emerged as a new and lucrative growth avenue for both the existing players as well as the new entrants. According to a latest research report "Booming Health Insurance in India" by research firm RNCOS released in April 2010,all emerging trends including the key factors driving the market growth. Furthermore, the report also identifies what could be the possible growth areas for expansion and gives a detailed overview of the competitive landscape. The Indian health insurance market has continued to post record growth in the last two fiscals (2008-09 and 2009-10). Moreover, as per the RNCOS estimates, the health insurance premium is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 25 per cent for the period spanning from 2009-10 to 2013-14.