General insurers begin FY18 on strong note, Q1 premia jumps 22%

Mumbai
15 Jul 2017

The gross written premium (GWP) collection of the general insurance industry grew to Rs 33,303 crore in the first quarter, up 22 per cent from Rs 27,310 crore in the corresponding period a year ago, as per the data from the regulator Irdai.
Having crossed Rs 1.27 trillion in fiscal 2017, the industry is now eyeing to clock Rs 1.5 trillion business in the current fiscal.
However, the Q1 figures do not include the crop insurance segment that has driven the industry growth by adding over Rs 20,000 crore in fiscal 2017. Crop insurance for the current fiscal will start shortly with Kharif sowing.
Still, the industry may not repeat the business growth history in this year, as it grew 30 per cent last year.
"The industry will not grow in the same pace as it did last year, when Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) was launched. We expect the PMFBY premium to be Rs 28,000 crore as against Rs 21,000 crore last fiscal," Sanath Kumar, National Insurance Company chairman and managing director told PTI.
According to Kumar, "the industry growth should top 20 per cent in the current fiscal too."
National Insurance has won some tenders in Kharif from some states, but the accounting of the premium will take some time, he said, adding "it has come through the portal from banks and also that of non-loanee farmers. It should be possible to account from August," he said.
Premium, Kumar said, has gone up in the health, motor and to some extent in fire as well.
But Rikhil Shah, chief financial officer at SBI General Insurance thinks the industry to fare better, saying "given the way the industry is moving, we could see a repeat of last year's performance this fiscal as well."
Talking about SBI General's performance in Q1, Shah said "we grew at 33 per cent and our profit is in line with what we had budgeted for this year."
During this year, he expects to grow around 35 percent and achieving our budgeted profit.
R Chandrasekaran, secretary general, General Insurance Council, said if the present growth momentum continues, the industry may cross Rs 1.5 trillion by this year.
Unlike crop insurance, industry growth is likely to come from segments like motor, health and personal accident.
"We expect the motor, health and personal accident segments to continue to drive growth this year as well," Mukesh Kumar, executive director at HDFC Ergo said.
Commenting on Q1 performance of HDFC Ergo, he said "we have had a good beginning in Q1. Including our subsidiary HDFC General, we grew 72 percent, taking our market share to 5.25 percent from 4.85 percent in the March quarter."
"As the base effect will come in this year on crop insurance, we believe overall growth will moderate to around 20 per cent," Mahesh Balasubramanian, chief executive at Kotak General Insurance said.
On the Q1 show, he said. "we ended the first quarter with Rs 36 crore in premia from Rs 10 crore in the year-ago period. This is very well in line with our plan of growing over 130 percent," he said. (PTI)