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Insurance companies in India cancels war damage coverage

Posted on: October 30th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

Marine cargo insurance policies are vital for the businesses involved in the transportation of goods, in particular shipping across the Israel-Gaza region. War damage coverage has the potential to increase the reinsurance rates which is causing jitters amongst the Indian Insurers amidst the ongoing military conflict in a region of the world that has immense trade value and importance.

HDFC Ergo and other Insurance companies in India have strategically opted to cancel the coverage for damages as a result of sabotage, strikes, riots, lockouts, and vandalism in Israel/ Gaza/ Lebanon because of the ongoing war. This will help reduce the risks associated with war-related actions.

The prime reason for such a move is the mounting concern on account of the rising reinsurance costs associated with such conflicts. This will help Insurance companies in India to keep claims in check and mitigate its potential impact on reinsurance premiums and rising costs.

Cyber Insurance gains traction in India; set for exponential growth

Posted on: October 20th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

A Deloitte report has forecasted that the Indian cyber insurance market will grow by 27-30% in the coming years. The current market valuation stands at $50-60 million, maintaining a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27-30% over the past three years.

This growth is primarily led by increased awareness of cyber insurance needs. Industries focussing heavily on digitization like IT, pharma, and manufacturing, and prime movers of economic growth like supply chain, retail, critical industries, and finance, are expected to be the prime targets of cybercriminals, being early adopters.

As per the report, willingness was most prominent among mid-sized firms. Surprisingly, leading companies in the consumer sector taking care of substantial consumer databases sounded a cautious approach to expanding their digital infrastructure budget but with an earnest desire to boost their insurance coverage.

One major finding of the survey was that about three-fourths of respondents possessed cyber insurance coverage of Rs 100 crore or less, with over 50% having less than Rs 10 crore of coverage.

In India, US$720bn is the Guarantee Gap for Infrastructure Construction

Posted on: September 25th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

India’s surety insurance bond market has not yet taken off due to unaddressed risks and the absence of market makers, despite its potential being huge.

As per research, the estimated maximum possible supply of bank guarantees over the next 5 years would be about INR35tn ($421bn) whereas Infrastructure projects would need guarantees totaling INR95tn over the period. This represents a huge shortfall of INR60tn ($722bn).

This gap in guarantee provides Surety insurance as an alternative allowing stakeholders to tap surety bonds to meet demand. India is expected to spend about INR100tn ($1.2tn) on infrastructure through the National Infrastructure Pipeline in the next 5 years, obligating the need for bank guarantees of about INR90tn in the same period, which is beyond the capacity of Indian banks.

This situation presents a unique opportunity for the general insurance industry to diversify its portfolio and play a critical role in nation-building. In Budget 2022–23, surety insurance was allowed as a substitute for bank guarantees in government procurement and gold imports.

IRDAI to expand reinsurance market, overhauls regulations

Posted on: August 25th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

India’s Insurance regulator, IRDAI has approved a wide-ranging overhaul of reinsurance regulations aimed at promoting a favourable business environment and inviting more reinsurers to set up business operations in India, to position India as a global reinsurance hub.

As per IRDAI, it recently approved amendments to the Reinsurance Regulations during its 123rd Authority Meeting, to harmonise and streamline existing regulations that apply to Indian insurers, Indian reinsurers, Foreign Reinsurance Branches (FRBs), and International Financial Services Centre Insurance Offices (IIOs).

The key focus areas are:
1. Increase reinsurance sector’s overall capacity to handle growing demand and manage larger risks.
2. Enhance industry’s technical expertise for encouraging excellence and innovation.
3. Reduce the compliance burden on various entities.
4. Minimum capital requirement for FRBs lowered from INR 1 Bn ($ 12.1 Mn) to INR 500 Mn, with the provision to repatriate any excess assigned capital.
5. Order of preference, previously at 6 levels, has been streamlined to 4 levels.
6. Simplified format for reinsurance programmes and rationalisation of regulatory reporting requirements.

Asian emerging markets forecasted to drive global economic growth

Posted on: July 12th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

Emerging Asia is likely to be the engine of growth for the world economy in the coming years. With the China’s economy reopening again this year, Emerging Asia to grow by 5.4% in 2023/24 due to recovery in demand. However, inflation still remains the biggest global macroeconomic concern, inducing hard market conditions in non-life business prompting insurers to offset elevated claims costs with higher premium prices.

As per an estimate, global economic growth will be lower at 2.3% this year and 2.3% in 2024. This growth is majorly contributed by emerging Asian markets, wherein countries like India, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are likely to grow much higher. With China coming out of the lockdowns in December last year, it is forecasted to register stronger growth this year than in 2022, pegged at 5.4%.

Insurance industry’s profitability in the world is set to improve with global insurance premiums, both in non-life and life, are estimated to grow by 1.1% in 2023 and by 1.7% in 2024. The premium amounts are forecasted to touch a new peak of $7.1 Tn in 2023, as compared to $6.8 Tn in 2022.

The Non-life premiums in emerging Asia are estimated to expand by 6.7% and 6.2% over 2023 and 2024, whereas life premiums are set to grow by 5.0% and 5.4%.

This year Non-life business is likely to be supported by better pricing, with Non-life premiums for China and emerging Asia forecasted to grow by 6.8% and 6.6% respectively.

Indian Insurance regulator directs Insurers to report cyber threats within stipulated time

Posted on: June 25th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

IRDAI has advised all insurance companies to promptly inform cyber security related incidents, as it came to know that many insurers were not adhering to the timelines and compliance in reporting such communication with Cert-In, vide a circular dated June 13, 2023.

Insurers are required to report cyber incidents to Cert-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) within 6 hours of noticing or being notified about cyber-attacks, with a copy to IRDAI and other designated regulators and authorities.

Insurers must refer and follow the IRDAI Information and Cyber Security Guidelines for reporting purposes and submit necessary details in a prescribed format within 24 hours, to be updated with forensic analysis and any new information.

This will enhance cyber security and develop a secure environment for the policyholders and insurance sector, by prompting a swift response to prevent further damage and mitigate risks. Any failure to do so could invite penalties or regulatory consequences for the insurers.

Indian Insurance Regulator is reviewing to allow entry of managing general agencies into insurance market

Posted on: June 23rd, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

Indian domestic insurance market is set to witness IRDAI’s path breaking regulatory reform with the regulator considering the feasibility of allowing managed general agencies or MGAs into the insurance market.

At present, MGAs do not operate in India, but IRDAI is considering their participation favorably in continuation of discussions being held with large insurance intermediaries. This positive step would allow current insurance intermediaries like Policybazaar, and others, who are focused only on distribution, to play a bigger role in the design of insurance products and life cycle management of the customer.

The entry of MGAs will open up opportunities for new-generation tech companies in partnership with large insurance companies for risk-sharing, underwriting business, wider use of technology, and offering customized insurance products in areas where the insurers does not have presence.

Insurable losses in India from the Cyclone Biparjoy assessed at less than US$ 100 Mn

Posted on: June 20th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

Cyclone Biparjoy made landfall in Gujarat on 15th June, causing extensive damage to the residential properties in the coastal region. Majorly, the insurable losses happened because of flood rather than wind damage. An estimate by CoreLogic, a global property solutions provider, puts total insurable losses from Cyclone Biparjoy at less than $ 100 Mn.

This estimated insurable loss comprises damage to residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial lines of business and excludes infrastructure damage to utilities, transportation, and communication systems.

IRDAI has advised General insurers and standalone health insurance companies to appoint a nodal officer, 24×7 helplines, and special claims desks to process claims faster and release interim payments for restoration of property or businesses, wherever possible to use digital processes.

Zurich in discussion to acquire up to 51% in an Indian general insurer

Posted on: June 15th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

Zurich Insurance Group is holding active discussion to buy up to 51% of India’s Kotak General Insurance, a deal that would be Zurich Insurance’s first big bet on the fast-growing insurance market in South Asia.

Uday Kotak, Asia’s richest banker, backed Indian company is valued at around $ 800 Mn based on the early-stage negotiations. Zurich Insurance has shown a keen interest in a minority stake of 49% or a majority of 51% and secure the deal for the Swiss insurer by paying $ 400 Mn for the transaction.

Kotak is yet evaluating offers, including from other investors, but prefers to retain “control of the company” post-sale of the stakes. It is hoping to get an investor who can help them turn around the business and grow faster.

Zurich, one of Europe’s largest insurers, and Kotak General Insurance, fully owned by Indian banking giant Kotak Mahindra Bank have not yet made any official confirmation about the stake sale. In 2021, India’s insurance sector was liberalized by allowing foreign companies to acquire majority stakes of up to 74% in an Indian insurer, from 49%.

Lead-insurer system rolls out in India

Posted on: June 14th, 2023 by hema kashyap No Comments

The Insurance regulator of India, IRDAI is in the process of implementing its vision of “Insurance for all by 2047” by rolling out lead-insurer system and promote accessible and affordable insurance. Zuno General Insurance (formerly Edelweiss General) is one of the insurance companies being appointed under the system.

Zuno has got a mandate from IRDAI to be the lead insurer in the state of Goa and enhance insurance reach and accessibility, with a focus on life and health protection, natural calamities, MSMEs, and employment. Zuno has specific plans for target groups like fishermen, rural and women self-help groups, MSMEs, and uninsured vehicle owners.

As per Zuno, Goa’s literacy and poverty rate indicates potential for increased insurance awareness, with Motor insurance dominating the market, followed by fire, property, and marine cargo insurance.

Prominent lead insurers include Universal Sompo General Insurance, Star Health and Allied Insurance, and Aegon Life Insurance, for the state of Andhra Pradesh. SBI General Insurance is the designated lead insurer for Meghalaya, a state in northeastern India.

Lead-insurer system for a state is a novel concept introduced by IRDAI to increase insurance penetration and drive financial inclusion. Its implementation is monitored by a coordination committee, including the insurers, state government and IRDAI representatives.

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