Bajaj Allianz, with 53,014 policies, and Iffco-Tokio, with 42,203 policies, were the only private sector non-life insurers, which could fulfill their rural and social sector obligations for the financial year 2002-03.
General insurers such as Tata AIG, Reliance General, Royal Sundaram, ICICI Lombard, HDFC Chubb and Cholamandalam could not fulfill their rural obligation, while some of these companies were able to meet their social sector cover requirement.
It may be recalled that some time back the Insurance Regulatory Authority of India had penalised Reliance General with a Rs 500,000 fine for not fulfilling its rural obligation. Now it needs to be watched whether the regulator will take the same action on these companies.
According to Irda norms, private insurers should earn two, three and five per cent of their gross premium income from the rural sector in the first, second and third year of their operations, respectively.
In the social sector, their obligation is to cover 5,000; 7,500; and 10,000 lives in their first, second and third years, respectively.
According to Irda statistics, Bajaj Allianz, which was in its second year of operations, earned 5.87 per cent of its Rs 289.3 crore (Rs 2.89 billion) gross premium from the rural area by selling 53,014 policies. It underwrote a total of 819,000 policies last year and covered 14,053 lives in the social sector.
Iffco-Tokio, which was in its third year of operations, earned 5.42 per cent (Rs 11.6 crore) of its Rs 214.12 crore (Rs 2.14 billion) gross premium from the rural sector.
It underwrote just 450 policies in the rural belt out of 146,000 policies sold last year.
The company covered 827,000 lives in the social sector. Tata AIG, though could sell 19 per cent of its policies in rural areas, earned only 2.82 per cent (Rs 6.57 crore) of its gross premium of Rs 227 crore (Rs 2.27 billion). It covered 8,617 lives in the social sector.
Royal Sundaram, the south-based insurer, sold 45,512 policies in rural areas and earned a Rs 7.1 crore (Rs 71 million) premium, which was 3.85 per cent of the gross premium of Rs 184.43 crore (Rs 1.84 billion).
HDFC Chubb, in its first year of operation, could not sell even one policy in rural areas, while Cholamandalam sold a single policy for Rs 160,000 premium.
Among the four general public sector insurers, Oriental Insurance was the lowest performer with just 3.58 per cent (Rs 99.6 crore) of its Rs 2,782 crore (Rs 27.82 billion) gross premium coming from the rural pockets.New India Assurance was the topper with 8.32 per cent of its earnings coming from rural areas, followed by National Insurance Company (7.98 per cent) and United India Insurance (7.12 per cent).