Expert Speaks

Universal Sompo General Insurance looks to outpace market growth in FY18

Rajiv Kumar, MD and CEO, Universal Sompo General Insurance said that in the previous financial year, the company posted a 42.3 percent growth in premiums.

Private sector general insurance company Universal Sompo General Insurance is betting big on its retail portfolio to drive the premium growth in FY18.

In an interview with Moneycontrol, Rajiv Kumar, MD and CEO, Universal Sompo General Insurance said that in the previous financial year, the company posted a 42.3 percent growth in premiums.

“For the industry, crop insurance contributed a big chunk of the growth. When you look at Universal Sompo, motor is the largest segment and we expect to see motor third party premiums to see a growth,” he said.

With the premiums been recently increased for motor third party space for this financial year, Kumar views this is a positive step. Third party motor premiums are regulated by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and are revised on an annual basis based on the claims received.

“Our aim is to grow more than the insurance industry. Here, retail will drive the business and we would want to outpace the market. On one hand while we have been growing at a rate faster than the market, the market share is also marginally higher than last year,” he said.

On the health space, the insurer is looking to up its ante on the wellness front. Kumar said that when you looks at the health side, there is untapped potential especially in the individual health space, adding that they will have products with a wellness element in it.

“In health insurance, we will look at launching disease-specific insurance products. Further, wellness will also be inbuilt into our product proposition,” he added.

The government announced additional coverage for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

Fianance minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech that the coverage of this scheme will be increased from 30 percent of cropped area in 2016-17 to 40 percent in 2017-18 and 50 percent in 2018-19.

“We expect that this year with the budget announcement, the coverage for crop insurance will go up further. We are also using satellites and geo-mapping to look at the crop cutting experience, output and crop yield,” said Kumar.

In terms of the distribution channels, while the insurer already have strong bank partners (Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Karnataka Bank), Kumar said that they have also begun selling through the common services centres (CSCs) and are exploring the point of sale (PoS) channel as well.

Going forward, Kumar said that their direct sales team will also be scaled up. Similarly, they are planning to bring out a mobile application that will enable all products to be integrated on one platform.


Looking beyond life insurance

Author: Mr.Rajiv Kumar
Designation: Managing Director & CEO, Universal Sompo General Insurance

Do not be blinded just by life insurance; there are other insurance products that are much more important when you are alive

Mention insurance and chances are most people will think of life insurance and stop right there. Yes, life insurance is important and necessary to create a financial cushion for your dependents. However, equally important are insurance policies like health, personal accident, motor insurance and a cover for your home. The upside of all of these forms of insurance is that they address the financial challenges you may face when you are alive.

Rising healthcare costs, spreading health hazards could severely affect your finances. Take for instance the prevalent dengue and chikungunya scare. Hospitalisation can set you off by several thousand rupees for each day you spend in a hospital. Things could get worse if you are detected with high blood pressure, diabetes or a heart ailment. Each of these has long standing impact on your health. Many require hospitalisation for treatment and it all costs, not to forget the possibility of you not functioning at work as you do today when you are healthy. With a standard health insurance in place, you can rest assured that the financial implications are taken care of and your financials are not dented.

When you look at motor insurance, the standard liability-only cover, popularly known as third party insurance, is mandatory to ply your vehicle on the roads. However, you also get own damage cover and cover for other risks like fire and arson. There are special covers like zero depreciation and engine protection which further enhance the scope of insurance.

And one of the most expensive possessions for Indians is their home. However, very few think of a householder’s insurance which covers the structure as well as the contents. Yes, the risk of a house being impacted by fire or floods seems farfetched; however, do not forget that you may face a deluge or even flash floods as was the case in Chennai in December 2015 or Hyderabad or Gurugram in recent months due to sudden downpour.

In similar vein is the personal accident cover. While death is loss of life which may be covered by your life insurance policy, but accidents leading to disability, which could be partial or total and temporary or permanent, the financial implications could result in a disaster. Do not treat these hazards lightly; the scope of general insurance policies is such that it can help you ensure that you are not heavily impacted financially.

So while you are alive and leading a good family life with all the comforts of a home and a vehicle, do not rely only on a Life Insurance policy to support your loved ones in case any eventualities take place during your lifetime, which will deplete all your hard earned savings in recuperating the damages.

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