Except,state owned New India Assurance(NIA) and the United India Insurance(UII), all the top 10 general insurers in the country,which are majorly private sector ones,have been hit by a slow down in the day-to-day business leading to a negative growth in their premium income in April, 2020 due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown forced by Covid-18 pandemic.
The domestic general insurance industry, consisting of 33 players,has degrown by 10 per cent year-on-year(Y-o-Y) to Rs 14,206 crore in the month of April.During April 2019, the industry had expanded by 14 per cent y-o-y to Rs 15,866 crore.
Bucking the trend, NIA,the largest Indian general insurance multinational, has managed to grow its monthly premium by 7 per cent y-o-y to Rs 3161 crore in April, the first month of the new fiscal 200-21. .
“It could become possible due to the company’s strong presence on digital platform. Out entire team has risen to the challnges. The loss of premiums in the motor segment was compensated by health and property segments. The premium for property risks have gone up since Apr,2020,” said Atul Sahai, CMD, NIA.
The listed NIA has also managed to grow its miscellaneous business which has compensated its loss of premiums in cargo, hull and aviation,a few segments severely impacted by the ongoing countrywide lockdown.
The overall depressive trends in the industry due to Covid -19 pandemic will continue till September 2020. Hopfully, all the segments including motor portfolio will look up, said Sahai.
United India Insurance, at Rs1389 crore, has seen its premium remaining almost flat during the month.
In fact,in the month of April,the public sector general insurers, consisting of NIA,UII, National Insurance Company and Oriental Insurance Company(OIC) together,that have been steadily losing markets shares to the private sector general insurers over a period of time, have improved their market share to 46.29 per cent in Apr, 2020 from 44 per cent in Apr 2029.
In April, private sector insurers, at Rs 6,722.29 crore of premiums,saw a steeper decline of 16.18 per cent in monthly premium collections where as their public sector counterparts, at Rs 6,559.16 crore.of premium ,recorded a decline of 5.68 per cent in the same period..
However, any figures in the begining of the fisacl may not indicate about any trends for the industry, said analysts.
Stand alone health insurer,Star Health, at Rs 402 crore, has pulled off the highest growth of 50 per cent y-o-y in the industry during April, 2020.
ICICI Lombard which has been degrowing its premium income to seek a profitable growth for the last one year, has declined by nine per cent y-o-y in its premium income to Rs 1395 crore in the month of Apr.
However, the largest private sector company which has exited crop insurance business, at Rs 1533 crore had grown its premium income by nine per cent y-o-y in Apr, 2019.
“We have seen degrowth in motor and travel but managed to retain the growth in health and property portfolio in April ,’’ said the company sources.
Most of the other major private sector general insurers like Bajaj Alianz General Insurance, at Rs 876 crore of premium and ,with a degrowth of 21 per cent ,HDFC Ergo General Insurance(Rs 601 crore, -16 per cent ), Reliance General Insurance Rs 721-9 crore, -9 per cent), Tata Aig General Insurance(Rs 602 crore, -10 per cent),Iffco Tokio general insurance (Rs 503 crore,-25 per cent) have been sucked into the negative zone during the month of Apr.
After expanding at 15 per cent to 16 per cent till Feb 2010, the domestic general insurance industry had started degrowing since Mar 2020.
The Indian general insurance industry had missed its much expected target of Rs 2 trillion annual premium mark in 2019-20 as disruptions caused by nationwide lockdown, due to outbreak of Covid 19, pulled down the industry's total premium in March.
The industry at Rs15,784.66 crore of premium, had degrown by 10 per cent in March while for the whole year at Rs 1,89 lakh crore of annual premium, it has grown by 11 per cent, the lowest in recent years.
For the rest of the 11 months, the domestic general insurance industry, at an average, had grown by 15 to 16 per cent.