Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ICICI Pru pips SBI Life to become largest private insurer

icici prudential

Private insurer ICICI Prudential has pipped SBI Life to regain the top position among private players garnering new businesses Rs 1,725 crore in the first five months of the current fiscal.

SBI Life, promoted by the country's largest lender State Bank of India, earned first year premium worth Rs 1,704 crore in April-August period while ICICI Prudential collected Rs 1,725 crore in the same period, according to the Irda data.

The ICICI Prudential's gain is mainly from the large premium the insurance firm managed to mop up in August. The company new business during the month stood at Rs 525 against SBI Life's Rs 306 crore.

SBI Life had taken over ICICI Prudential to become the largest private insurer in the first two months of FY10.

However, when compared to last year, ICICI Prudential's premium dipped by about 40 per cent. In the first five months of FY09 its premium stood at Rs 2,818 crore.

SBI Life also saw its premium declining to Rs 1,703 crore in the first five months of this fiscal, compared to Rs 1,763 crore raised in the same period last fiscal.

Overall, the private life insurers registered a negative growth of about 15 per cent during April-August of the current fiscal. The 21 private life insurers managed to raise Rs 10,227 crore in the first five months of FY10 against Rs 12,089 crore during the same period last year.

However, the life industry grew by 17 per cent in April -August of the current fiscal, with the life insurance companies' premium rising to Rs 31,039 crore against Rs 26,449 crore during the same period last year.

This was mainly due to the 45 per cent growth in new business registered by the country's largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation.

LIC's market share rose to 67 per cent in new business in the first five months of current fiscal from 54 per cent share during the corresponding period last year.

It mopped up Rs 20,810 crore during April-August period of the current fiscal, compared with Rs 14,359 crore during the same period last year.

In August, the premium collection of the life insurance industry grew by around 44 per cent to Rs 9,044.18 crore against Rs 6,273.57 crore in the same period last year.

The private life insurance segment, however, witnessed a negative growth of around 8 per cent, while the LIC registered a whopping growth rate of 83 per cent in premium collection in August.

Commenting on the August figures, Reliance Life Insurance President Malay Ghosh said, "The new business numbers are showing growing trend each month which is a positive sign. We are sure that the private sector will be back on the growth path by the second half of the financial year."