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Insurance industry reports a tepid 5% growth in FY21

Healthcare and fire protection helped the Indian general insurance industry report a tepid 5% growth for the last fiscal even as the dominant motor and crop insurance segment shrank due to lockdowns.

Standalone health insurers like Star Health, Aditya Birla Health Insurance, Max Bupa reported robust growth in their gross direct premium income (GDPI) in FY21.

“Rise in covid cases in March and April has led to an increase in search traffic for health insurance in India. This supports our optimistic outlook for the growth of health premiums in FY22,”

said in a note.

The spike in covid related claims will however remain an overhang for the segment, but the end results of the same will remain in wait-and-watch mode as mass vaccination drive enters into an important phase from May this year, the brokerage said.

As of April 20, Indian insurers have settled claims amounting to $1.2 billion against $2bn claims received as of March last year.

Aditya Birla reported 49% rise in GDPI in FY21, while Star Health and Max Bupa had 37% and 41% growth. SBI General Insurance’s ex-crop GDPI grew 31% while that of ICICI General Insurance was 5%.

“We continue to remain constructive on the non-life insurance space driven by expected recovery in motor premiums, expected price hike in motor third party in FY22, moderating covid claims and strong outlook for health premiums,” ICICI Securities said in a note.

For the entire industry, fire protection grew 27% with health insurance reporting 13.5% rise, while motor and crop insurance dipped 2% and 3.4%, respectively.

Motor GDPI grew 8% in fourth quarter year-on-year promising a better traction FY22. Within the motor segment, insurers like SBI General, Reliance General and Tata AIG outperformed the industry by registering a growth of 37%, 15% and 7% respectively and gained market share in the range of 57-90 basis point, ICICI Securities said.

ICICI General witnessed 3% growth in its motor premium, while National Insurance, United India Insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and

reported a decline of 15%, 11%, 10% and 1% respectively.

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