Premium collection by non-life insurers took a hit in March, owing to the Covid-19 disruption and the subsequent lockdown.
The monthly gross direct premium contracted 10.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 15,785 crore, from Rs 17,673 crore in March 2019. However, for the whole of FY20, gross direct premium for non-life insurers grew 11.7 per cent (YoY).
In absolute terms, premium collected by general insurers was close to Rs 1.89 trillion in FY20, against Rs 1.69 trillion in FY19. The YoY premium growth in FY19 (against FY18) stood at 12.5 per cent.
While general insurers — both private and state-owned — saw monthly premium collection drop 15.3 per cent YoY, annual premium collection saw a 9.5 per cent growth.
However, this was less than the previous fiscal year’s growth. In FY19, general insurers saw premium collection grow 12.6 per cent. Similarly, monthly premium collection for March 2019 grew 10.3 per cent.
While stand-alone health insurers saw positive growth in premium collection in FY20, it was lower than the growth achieved in FY19.
Stand-alone insurers’ monthly premium increased by 4.3 per cent (against 21.5 per cent in March 2019), while annual premiums increased by 26.9 per cent (against 36.6 per cent in FY19).
Meanwhile, specialised public sector insurance companies saw annual premiums increase by 30.2 per cent. Further, the share of state-owned insurers, including the specialised public sector insurers, declined to 44.2 per cent in FY20 from 51.1 per cent in FY18.
“The insurance business is expected to witness muted growth in the first quarter of FY21 due to the extended lock down. However, the segment could witnessed an increased interest in health, and policies that protect business in the times of shutdown, or special perils such as pandemics,” said CARE Ratings.
The lockdown phase has seen less claims from motor insurance segments vis-à-vis the health insurance segment. Moreover, with the proposed hike in third-party insurance on hold by the insurance regulator because of Covid-19, the non-life insurance sector is expected to face tough times ahead.