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Private insurers steal the show

New Delhi, Oct. 10: Post liberalisation, the general insurance industry is not only growing but it seems the new breed of private players are fast stealing the show. That's at least what the latest IRDA report indicates.

The G. V. Rao report card on the performance of the general insurance industry says the market premium has grown overall by Rs 606 crore by July-end.

Of this, the share of four public players amounts to Rs 241 crore, posting a growth of 5.4 per cent over last year. The eight private players have contributed Rs 365 crore, a nifty 85 per cent growth over last year.

Although nationalised insurance companies don't quite buy this calculation, they accept that market aggressiveness, post-sales service, wider opportunities and consumer choices are factors that have cumulatively helped their private counterparts grow at a faster rate.

A senior official from Oriental Insurance said, “The relative calculation is not very correct as all private players are operating on a much smaller base compared with us. This obviously translates into the fact that their rate of growth is faster but cannot be compared in the same measure with us.” “However we do acknowledge that stiff competition, prompt sales services and computerised working system have given them a leverage over us,” he added.

CEO of HDFC Chubb General Insurance Company Srirang Samant said, “It is true to some extent that a smaller base means faster growth. But it is equally right that private insurers are working hard on business development exercises.”

It is believed that a major chunk of business for the private players is emanating out of personal lines of business driven by aggressive marketing strategies and prompt claim settlement.

Statistics reveal that of the accretion of Rs 240 crore premium collected by four public sector players, the share of Calcutta-based National Insurance alone is Rs 146 crore followed by Oriental Insurance with Rs 45 crore, United India with Rs 43 crore and Oriental Insurance with Rs 6 crore.

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