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New India Assurance to launch four new products in FY16
[Posted by: InsuringIndia News on Monday, April 27, 2015 11:25 AM]
State-owned New India Assurance is planning to launch four products - two each in the motor and health segments - during the current fiscal.

"We have filed for two products under motor segment and two others for health segments before the regulator IRDAI and we are waiting for approvals," New India Assurance Chairman and Managing Director G Srinivasan told here today.

Srinivasan was here to sign an agreement with Bank of India for participating in the new welfare schemes offered in the Budget for the poorer sections of the society.

Asked about the profitability and claims outgo for his company during the year gone-by, he said, "Though our results for 2014-15 are yet to be announced, we feel that we have done better on both fronts."

Srinivasan said the focus of his company will continue to be on retail, which comprises 65 per cent of its business now, during the current fiscal.

Replying to a query relating to the industry growth, he said "we are hopeful of achieving 15-16 per cent growth during this year (2015-16). If the trend continues, then maybe by 2016-17, we should clip at 18-20 per cent."

Star Health and Allied Insurance tops in premium collection
[Posted by: InsuringIndia News on Friday, April 24, 2015 2:07 PM]
Star Health and Allied Insurance has been ranked number one among all private stand alone health insurers in health insurance premium, as per data compiled by industry body General Insurance Council for the year ending March 31.

This also makes Star Health Insurance, number one among all stand-alone health insurers, procuring a premium of Rs 1,439.27 crore in the health insurance segment.

"This achievement shows the confidence which people have on us and the dedicated service done by our people," Star Health and Allied Insurance Executive Director S Prakash said in a statement issued here today.

"We have our presence all across India at 900 outlets, with 7,000 employees. We have vast range of products to meet the requirements of all sections," he said.

Among other stand alone health insurers, Religare Health Insurance reported a gross written premium of Rs 275.8 crore during the year gone by, as per General Insurance Council data.

"We have reported a gross written premium of Rs 275.8 crore for the year 2014-15. We continue to invest in building a very strong service foundation for offering best-in-class services to our customers and distribution partners," Religare Health Insurance Managing Director and Chief Executive Anuj Gulati said.

The stand alone health insurance sector, dominated by half a dozen players, is likely to have grown at 30 per cent to Rs 2,946 crore in FY 2015, according to General Insurance Council data.

Exclusive bank JVs with insurers may split
[Posted by: InsuringIndia News on Thursday, April 23, 2015 9:45 AM]
Some joint venture insurance companies stare at the prospect of splitting, with the contours of profitability set to change if the regulator presses ahead with its diktat on bancassurance. Insurers such as MetLife and Dai-Ichi, which paid through the nose for partnerships with banks for their distribution, stand to lose if they alone do not benefit from the infrastructure.

Several banks had signed up joint venture partnerships on the basis that they will have an exclusive distribution arrangement. However, the regulator has proposed a cap on the amount that can be distributed through one insurance company. "It's obvious that nobody likes to see a change in set rules after you start the game, and promoters of such joint ventures will be no different," said Girish Kulkarni, managing director and CEO of Star Union Dai-Ichi Life Insurance. "In addition to commercial challenges, it destabilises softer aspects of partnership ecosystem, too. What will happen between them depends a lot on the balance sheet strength and operating scale achieved by JVs. Some may still stay together due to established comfort but it won't be the same for sure."

According to the draft proposal, banks should do about 90 per cent of the premium with any one insurer in the first year and the limit should gradually come down to 75 per cent and 60 per cent during the second and third years, respectively while the limit will be not more than 50 per cent from the fourth year onwards.

"Many of these partnerships will find it difficult to accept caps which go down to 50 per cent," said Amitabh Chaudhry, managing director and CEO of HDFC Life. "There might be some players who are pure bancassurance companies where the foreign partner has entered on the premise of the bank's infrastructure being available and may have paid premiums to the Indian partner."

Many companies such as HSBC Canara OBC Life Insurance operate mainly through bancassurance channel. If suddenly this infrastructure becomes unavailable, the partners will need to have a relook at their business model, and then re-evaluate their entire future plans for the business. There are nine bank-promoted life insurance companies and four in the general insurance sector.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority is working on mandating banks to adopt an open architecture under which they will have to sell products of multiple insurance companies.

The share of banks in the total individual new business went down to 15.62 per cent in 2013-14 from 16.18 per cent in 2012-13, according to Irda's latest annual report.

Irda has extended the deadline for giving feedback on the draft guidelines by a fortnight to April 24. This will help insurance companies without a bank partner such as Reliance Life and Bajaj Allianz find distribution partners with a wide network.

New India eyes Rs 18,000 crore total premium in 2015-16
[Posted by: InsuringIndia News on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 9:36 AM]
India's largest non-life insurer New India Assurance has set the bar high as it aims to cross the Rs 18,000-crore mark in global premium.

This includes Rs 15,000 crore as domestic premium by the end of the current fiscal, a top company official said here today.

The company closed the fiscal year 2014-15 by notching up a global premium of around Rs 16,000 crore.

"We've achieved a global premium of more than Rs 16,000 crore, including domestic premium of Rs 13,250 crore and international premium of Rs 2,810 crore in 2014-15, showing a growth of 12 per cent against the previous year's premium income of Rs 14,300 crore," New India Assurance Chairman and Managing Director G Srinivasan said here.

New India achieved a premium income of Rs 5,363 crore from motor premium alone during the year gone by, and 10 per cent of it came from the two-wheeler premium category, he said on the sidelines of launch of long-term two-wheeler policy.

According to the CMD, his company is looking at launching more products under health and motor segments this fiscal.

"We have already filed for the new products under the health and motor segments before IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India)," he said.

He added that retail, which comprises 65 per cent of New India's business at the moment, will continue to be the focus.

To a specific query, he said, "Though the industry has slowed... it's likely to grow 15 per cent during the current fiscal, and things have already started improving for the last 2-3 months."

Asked about the new long-term two-wheeler policy, Srinivasan said: "The customer will get an assured discount of 30 per cent for 3-year and 20 per cent for 2-year policies. There can be up to 50 per cent of savings on own damage premiums in case one goes for a 3-year long-term policy."

He hinted that his company is looking at the launch of a similar product under the four-wheeler segment too in future.

E-insurance may soon be a must for high-value life insurance policies
[Posted by: InsuringIndia News on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 3:56 PM]
Soon, you will have to get used to electronic insurance policies, if the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India ( Irdai) has its way. "Irdai has circulated a draft amongst stakeholders, which mandates issuance of policies in an electronic form above a certain threshold limit, besides enhancing the process and system interaction between an insurance company and an insurance repository," said a senior executive of an insurance repository.

The insurance regulator has proposed to make it mandatory for insurers to issue all new life insurance policies with annual premium of over Rs 50, 000 in electronic form. Insurers will have to seek policyholders' consent while issuing the electronic policy.

"Policyholders will retain the right to ask for a physical policy, but at the time of issuing every policy, insurers will have to specifically enquire whether they would like to exercise the option of receiving it in the dematerialised form," said SV Ramanan, CEO, CAMS Insurance Repository.

Moreover, even if the policyholder insists on a physical policy, the insurer will have to issue it in the electronic form as well. This move will ensure that all new high-value life insurance policies will be available in the electronic form, too, irrespective of whether the policyholder chooses the option or not.\

The new rule will also apply to new motor and health insurance policies entailing a premium of more than Rs 10, 000. Likewise, group life and health insurance policies provided by organisations employing over 50 employees will have to be issued in an electronic form.

The insurance regulator has authorised five entities — NSDL, Central Insurance Repository, CAMS Insurance Repository, Stock holding Corporation of India (SCHIL) and Karvy Insurance Repository — to dematerialise physical policies. At present, the facility is available only for life insurance policies.


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*This is based on the difference between the highest and lowest premium's for a single person, age 25, looking for an individual health policy with the sum insured of Rs. 5 lakhs.
**This is based on the difference between the highest and lowest premium's for a single person, age 25, looking for a term plan, with the sum insured of Rs. 30 lakhs, and the premium paying term of 30 years.
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