On 12 May, United India Insurance Co Ltd, laid the foundation stone for a 15-storey new corporate office at its existing premises. Chairman-cum-Managing Director Milind Kharat has set a tight construction schedule of two years. This plan is in line with the growth of this second largest general insurance company in India.
During 2015-16 UII registered a 14.58 per cent growth in gross premium income to Rs 12,250 crore (Rs 10,692 crore in 2014-15). Kharat mentioned this as the highest growth rate among the 29 players engaged in the GI business.
Impact of Chennai floods...
The performance should be related to the huge loss suffered by insurance companies, estimated at Rs. 5000 crore, due to the rains and floods that devastated the Chennai metro in December 2015. The share of UII was large at Rs. 1413 crore with 7480 claims. Kharat said that more than 98 per cent of the claims had been settled. “The regional office set up a separate cell to deal with the claims. UII offered on the spot compensation for vehicles affected by the floods.” Since the policies were reinsured, the net impact of flood was just Rs 140 crore.
The company posted a claims ratio of 87.81 per cent recording a nominal increase of 3.39 per cent over the previous year. UII reported a profit before tax of Rs. 256 crore and profit after tax of Rs 221 crore.
The high claims ratio on motor vehicle insurance and health insurance continued. Kharat pointed to more than 60 per cent of vehicles on roads not taking the mandatory third party insurance. If this could be tackled effectively through coordinated action by the industry, transport departments and the police of the state, combined with tackling fraudulent claims of general insurance profitability can improve vastly.
UII has invested Rs 19,665 crore and income from investments earned of Rs. 2472 crore, has been helpful in earning net profits despite an adverse claims ratio and a huge impact of Rs. 663 crore due to the wage board’s recommendations on increased emoluments.
Spreading general insurance
The new schemes introduced last year like the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana providing the personal accident cover of Rs. 2 lakh at a low premium of Rs. 12 per annum, has been helping the spread of general insurance. Kharat referred to this scheme alone enrolling over 2.28 crore customers. 1425 claims had been made, said Kharat.
UII introduced a comprehensive new scheme for the MSME sector. The integrated package of insurance policy covers fire and other perils, burglary, public liability and money insurance.
The 16,366 strong UII team can be expected to soar higher with the new high rise building that promises to be another landmark of the metro.