Indian insurance sector off to a strong start in 2008, says Macquarie Research

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) released first year premium numbers for life insurers for January.

While Private sector sales continued to be robust at 119 per cent YoY, the month also saw LIC make up some lost ground by growing faster than the insurance segment at 133 per cent YoY.

According to Macqurie Research, theses numbers relate to individual policies. "We think the companies' group figures are inconsistent and do not add significantly to the valuations of the life insurance companies," its report on the sector said.
Private sector grows more than 100 per cent for the sixth consecutive month.

Private sector first-year weighted premium income (adjusted for singlepremium policy sales) grew 119 per cent YoY, up from 118 per cent YoY last month - the sixth consecutive month when private player sales have grown by more than 100 per cent.

Growth for cumulative April 07 - Jan 08 sales was 99 per cent, underscoring the industry's robust health. We believe that private sector growth will continue its strong momentum as distribution rolls out.

League tables - ICICI Prudential strengthens its position at the top. The league tables are largely unchanged However, ICICI Prudential strengthened its position at the top of the heap by increasing its market share by 4 per cent in the month. Among the larger players, Reliance, SBI Life and Birla Sun Life continued to be the rising stars with the fastest YoY growth rates we expect this trend to continue as all three companies are beefing up distribution very significantly.