Health, motor insurance big growth drivers
30 May, 2014 01:01 PM
General insurers are betting big on retail health insurance policies, home and marine insurance to drive growth in the space this fiscal.

"This year, we are hoping the new products we launch will be the major growth drivers. Within just a few months of launch, our surgical protection plan and MyHome insurance policies have started picking up. We have planned to launch more products in personal lines that will propel the retail business," Tapan Singhel, managing director and chief executive officer, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance said.

Similarly, Star Health is also focusing its efforts on the individual healthcare segment. "We have now completely shifted our focus to the retail segment," V Jagannathan, chairman and managing director, Star Health and Allied Insurance, said. The company is planning to do GWP (gross written premiums) of Rs 1,500 crore this fiscal, of which 80% would be from renewals.

Industry observers expect health insurance, motor renewal premiums and new categories such as marine to be the main growth drivers. "While the number of claims in marine insurance tend to be high, the value is not so. Also, with claims sizes being contained, private insurers do well in this segment," Rahul Aggarwal, chief executive officer, Optima Insurance Brokers said.

The general insurance industry clocked a growth rate of 12.23% in GWP last fiscal to 77,538.25 crore as against 69,088.69 during 2012-13, as per data from Irda (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority). While the general insurance industry clocked a double-digit growth last fiscal, industry observers say the growth has been lower compared to earlier years on account of the prevailing economic conditions.

"The general insurance industry has been growing at 15% annually for quite some time now. Last fiscal, the growth rate was slower on account of slowdown in business," Kalyani Narayanan, chief executive officer of insurance advisory outfit Easyinsuranceindia said.

In terms of growth in GWP in the general insurance sector, the private sector reported a higher growth of 15.37% last fiscal to 34,246.01 crore as compared to 29,682.99 crore during FY13. On the other hand, public insurers reported a growth of 9.86% last fiscal to 43,292.24 crore as against 39,405.70 crore during FY13.

"The business in the general insurance space is getting segregated with private companies now moving towards retail insurance while public insurers are moving towards corporate insurance (that includes fire and marine) and group health insurance policies. Also, growth last year was driven by the retail segment that included motor premium renewals and individual healthcare policies. These aided growth of private insurers," Aggarwal said.

Some private insurers like Royal Sundaram and Shriram General have reported a dip in gross written premiums of 7.95% and 2% last fiscal respectively, as per data from Irda. Other private companies like Bajaj Allianz's growth during FY14 mirrored the overall industry. "We have been able to control our costs by leveraging technology. The EeeZee Tab launched in the second half helped our agents procure new business instantly. It was also extended to manage motor claims, which lowered turnaround time in claims settlement," Singhel said. The company's GWP grew 12.87% to Rs 4,516.45 during FY14 as compared to Rs 4,001.40 crore during FY13.

All standalone heath insurers reported growth in their GWP. This was largely aided by growth in the individual health insurance segment.
Source : The Times Of India

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