General Microinsurance in India

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12 May 2011

Serving a Complex Market


Microinsurance has started providing access to insurance products for the poorer segments of the Indian population. However, unlike life insurance, it has been difficult for insurance firms to sell general insurance to the Indian market.

In a new report, General Microinsurance in India: Serving a Complex Market, Celent analyzes the progress of the general microinsurance sector in India. The general microinsurance market is more complex than its life counterpart. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon. One is the wider reach of the life insurance segment in terms of insurance agents and channels. Another is the slower transition of the general insurance segment towards microinsurance. The difficulty of product pricing and claim processing are also barriers that need to be overcome.

Nonlife insurers (excluding specialised institutions like ECGC and AIC and the stand-alone health insurance companies) underwrote premiums of US$8.0 billion in FY2010, over US$6.2 billion in FY2009, registering a growth of 28.5% and compared to a decline of 11% in the previous year. The three health insurance companies underwrote premiums of US$23.9 million in FY2010, more than twice their collective premiums of US$10.6 million in FY2009.

"General microinsurance in India has grown more slowly than the life microinsurance for a number of reasons," says Anshuman Jaswal, Celent Senior Analyst and author of the report. "However, there is a lot of potential for this market to grow, and private insurers’ increasing level of interest is a promising sign."

An interesting aspect of Indian microinsurance is the variety of products that have been created to meet the specific general insurance needs of the population. These products could offer interesting insights to microinsurance providers elsewhere around the globe. This report will inform the reader about some of these products, as well as the interesting lessons that can be drawn from the Indian experience.