It may be a late starter, but is gathering momentum.
Contrary to the industry norm, India's non-life insurance industry currently seems to be doing better than the life insurance industry, at least judged on the basis of first year premium collections. With state monopolies on the wane, in both life and non-life insurance, private players are gaining market share.
For, while the life insurance industry's first year premium collections dipped by 17.7 per cent during October 2007 compared to that of the corresponding month a year ago, the non-life insurance industry's gross underwritten premiums increased by 12.18 per cent in October 2007 compared with October 2006, according to a recently released study by Cygnus Research.
A noticeable development is that in October 2007, private life insurers' market share increased to 42.4 per cent from 17.4 per cent in the same period last year due to a 66 per cent increase in group single premiums, a 118 per cent increase in individual non-single premium collections, and a 73 per cent increase in individual single premiums.
On the other hand, the market share of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) decreased to 57.6 per cent in October 2007 from 82.6 per cent in October 2006 owing to a 68 per cent dip in individual non-single premiums and a 40 per cent dip in group single premium collections.
In the non-life or general insurance industry, however, gross premiums underwritten increased by 12.18 per cent to Rs 2,377 crore during October 2007 and the main contributors for this growth rate in the public sector were United India Insurance Company and New India Insurance Company, while in the private sector, the main contributors were Reliance General, Cholamandalam, Bajaj Allianz and ICICI Lombard.
The market share of private non-life insurers increased to 41.4 per cent in October 2007 from 36.1 per cent in October 2006 due to a 167 per cent increase in the premium collections of Reliance General and a 71.42 per cent increase in that of Cholamandalam. On the other hand, the public sector's market share dipped to 58.2 per cent in August 2007 from 63.7 per cent in August 2006, although there was a 6 per cent increase in the premium of New India Insurance Company and a 6 per cent increase in that of National India Insurance Company.