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February, 2011

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

As per data released by Life Insurance Council, the apex industry body of all life insurance companies in India, total premium collected by the life insurance industry increased 13 per cent to US$ 41.05 billion in calendar year 2010 from US$ 36.23 billion in 2009. The new business premium of life companies has grown by 28 per cent year-on-year (yoy) to US$ 19.14 billion till December 31 2010 as compared to US$ 15 billion in 2009. The growth comes in the backdrop of significant regulatory changes made in product profile of ULIPs (unit- linked insurance products) in 2010, which was also a year in which a few private life insurers completed a decade of their existence, the Life Insurance Council said in a statement.

State-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India, the largest and most dominant life insurer crosses has given an exuberant performance in terms of first year premium. As of January 29 2011, LIC received an income of US$ 7.52 billion by successfully selling 2, 52, 44,846 policies. SBI Life has overtaken ICICI Prudential to become the country's largest private insurer in terms of first year premium collection, garnering a new business of US$ 1.04 billion in April-December 2010. ICICI Prudential collected the first year premium of US$ 1.02 billion in nine months to December 2010, according to the data released by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

General Insurance

According to data released by IRDA, the general insurance industry recorded 22.76 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in gross premium underwritten during April–October 2010. The industry collected gross premium of US$ 5.29 billion during April–October 2010 compared with US$ 4.31 billion in the same period last year.

The public sector players posted 21.09 per cent y-o-y growth in gross premium during April–October 2010 over the corresponding period last year. At the same time, private players recorded a 25.19 per cent y-o-y increase in gross premium.

The state-run insurers fared better than their private counterparts, with New India Insurance collecting the maximum premium of US$ 916.77 million during April-October 2010, compared to US$ 770.25 million in the same period last year, growing by 19.04 per cent.

According to the IRDA's Summary Reports of Motor Data of Public and Private Sector Insurers - 2009-10, nearly 28.4 million policies were issued and a total premium of US$ 2.31 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.

According to a report published by Yes Bank and an industry body in November 2009, the medical insurance sector would account for US$ 3 billion in the next three years.

Health insurance premium collections were US$ 1.75 billion in 2009-10 compared with US$ 893.76 million in the previous year, IRDA said in its annual report for 2009-10. It should, however, be noted that figures for 2009-10 include policies served by third party administrators (TPAs) as well as those directly served by insurers whereas figures for 2008-09 include policies served by TPAs only.