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Health insurance, pension policies see a sharp dip

By BS Reporter
September 04, 2012 10:29 IST
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Sales of health and pension policies of life insurance companies have taken a beating in June, according to the latest data released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

The regulator releases figures of monthly business of both life and non-life insurers, segment wise.

The insurance regulator has segregated the figures for the life insurance players into four categories -- individual single premium, individual non-single premium, group single premium and group new business-non-single premium.

According to the data, there have been only 13 non-linked health policies in individual single premium in June 2012, compared with 60 policies in the same period last year.

Linked health policies for the same period dropped to 14 in June 2012, compared with 105 in June 2011. Both the above figures are for without-profit sub-category. The with-profit category figures stood at zero.

Even in the individual non-single premium category, there was a 53 per cent drop in health insurance premium (without profit) for March 2012, compared with the figures a year ago in the non-linked category. In the linked category, the same fell by 36.8 per cent to 8,705 policies in March 2012, compared with 13,780 policies in March 2011.

Industry players said the change in portfolio strategy with less focus on health has been one of the reason why the health insurance policies have come down.

"Over the years, life insurance players are making an attempt to significantly reduce their health portfolio, due to the complexities of health insurance as a whole. This explains the drop in premium numbers on a year-on-year

basis," said a senior executive of a private life insurer.

Pension has been another category, which has seen an almost zero rise and even a negative growth in policies. In the group single premium category, there was only one non-linked pension scheme in March 2012, against 199 schemes (without profit) in March 2011.

Only the group new business-non single premium showed an upward trend, where non-linked pension schemes (without profit) stood at 19 in June 2012 , compared with six schemes in June 2011. In the same period, linked pension schemes (without profit) in the same category rose to 15 in June 2012, against two a year ago.

A negative growth was seen on the pension policy front in the individual category. In individual non-single premium, the number of policies went into negative, both in the linked and non-linked category. This, according to life insurers, is due to the adjustments made by insurance players made in terms of pension policies.

"The pension product market is on a decline for some time now. Adding to this, there have been some adjustments made by insurance players, due to which the figures which were anyway on a decline, have fallen further into negative," said an official from a life insurance company.

In terms of the non-life insurers segment wise information, motor accounted for the highest share in the gross premium underwritten by non-life insurers (both public and private insurers) within India.The motor segment registered a 21.6 per cent growth in premiums year-on-year in June 2012, including public and private insurers.

The fire segment reported the highest rise in premiums among all categories, registering a 22.2 per cent rise in premiums on a year-on-year basis in June 2012.

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BS Reporter in Mumbai
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