Blog postOur featured Post
The government-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has registered a six per cent increase in market share to 78 per cent of all new life insurance policies bought by customers since April 1 during the current financial year. LIC’s market share at the end of March 31, 2011, had stood at 72 per cent of all new policies sold during the last financial year (2010-11) with the 23 rival life insurance companies, most of which are tied up with international giants, holding 28 per cent share. The combined market share of these companies has now fallen to 22 per cent during the current fiscal, according to the latest figures.
LIC‘s north zone chief Nilesh Sathe said the share of the private sector companies has come down as customers are turning away from the unit-linked life insurance products (ULIPs) offered mainly by the private sector companies as these have become risky because of the volatility in the stock market. Investments in LIC‘s conventional life insurance products that are not linked to the stock market are considered much safer.
However, though in terms of the number of policies LIC has a 78 per cent share, in terms of the percentage of first time premium income the company’s share is at 72.43 per cent. This is because the private sector companies focus more on big ticket premiums, which has given them a larger average income per policy.
The average ticket size of the first premium income of private sector companies works out to Rs 23,293 while the corresponding figure for LIC is Rs 12,806. The average ticket size for the insurance industry as a whole is Rs 15,070. Sathe explained that LIC offers a much wider range of policies, starting at a minimum premium of Rs 250 with life insurance value of Rs 30,000. This enables the public sector company to achieve the social objective of taking its insurance cover to a wider range of the country’s population.
LIC also has the lowest outstanding claims ratio of a mere 0.37 per cent. The figures also show that during 2009-10 while LIC had settled 99.8 per cent of death claims, the private sector companies had settled 96.8 per cent of such claims. There were also variations among the private sector companies with some doing better than others.
Sathe said the LIC claims that have not been settled were mainly due to family disputes with one member moving court against another. “There have been instances where the mother was named the beneficiary of the policy in the case of death but the wife has moved court to assert her claim,” he said. Some claims have also come in the doubtful category as the insured person has died shortly after buying the policy. In such cases, it often turns out that the person had some illness that he had concealed from the company at the time of insurance.