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May, 2011

The Indian Insurance sector has undergone several changes in trends and policies in the year 2010. The US$ 41 billion 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.

State-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India has recorded about 37 per cent growth in its new business premium to US$ 15.1 billion during April-January FY2011, the data from sect oral regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) stated. Overall, 23 life insurers in the country collectively mopped up US$ 21.35 billion as new first-year premium during the period, a 26 per cent increase from US$ 17 billion during April-January 2009-10.

Out of this, the 22 private life insurers together accounted for US$ 6.26 billion worth of new business in the April-January 2010-11, compared to US$ 5.91 billion in the year-ago period, a growth of about 6 per cent. Among the private life insurance players, SBI Life saw its premium collections from new business grow by 9 per cent to US$ 1.1 billion during the period, while ICICI Life’s premium collections from new business grew to US$ 1.15 billion in April-January, 2011, from US$ 964 million during the same period last year.

General Insurance

The general insurance industry recorded 24.57 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in gross premium underwritten during April–January 2010-11. The industry collected gross premium of US$ 3.23 billion in the April-January period as against US$ 2.6 billion in the April-January period of 2009-10, as per the IRDA data.

Nearly 70 per cent of the gross premium income in the non-life insurance sector was accounted for by public sector undertakings (PSUs). In the April-January period, the four public sector general insurers collected US$ 4.5 billion, compared to US$ 3.7 billion during the corresponding period of FY2010.

The maximum premium was mopped up by New India Insurance, which saw an 18.01 per cent growth in collections to US$ 1.3 billion.

Among the private players, ICICI Lombard’s premium collections grew 29 per cent to US$ 789 million during the first four months of the current fiscal.

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. A latest research report "Booming Health Insurance in India" by research firm RNCOS, has drawn all emerging trends and has identified 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. 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, the medical insurance sector would account for US$ 3 billion during 2010-13.

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.