SBI Life overtakes ICICI Prudential as India's top insurer

SBI Life Insurance Co has overtaken ICICI Prudential Life Insurance to become India's largest private insurer in terms of new business premium collection this year, according to data released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.

Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) still retains the top rank among all the insurers, with a market share of 61.88 per cent in the first two months (April-May) of the present financial year. SBI Life has taken the second position, with Rs783.94 crore new business premiums collected in this year, amounting to 9.06 per cent of the market share.

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, a 74:26 joint venture between ICICI Bank and UK-based Prudential plc, still has the largest market share among the private life insurers as per capitalisation and number of lives covered. However, overall it has slipped to third place with a premium collection of Rs483 crore and a market share of 5.59 per cent up to May.

SBI life had collected Rs546.34 crore in the previous year compared with ICICI Prudential's Rs951.76 crore. SBI Life Insurance has a capital of Rs2,000 crore and a paid-up capital of Rs1,000 crore. SBI owns 74 per cent of the total capital, with BNP Paribas Assurance holding the remaining 26 per cent.

The insurance companies' ranking is often based on the new business premium coming out of the new policies that are sold, though a large chunk of the money also comes from renewal premiums.

Other leading life insurance companies, such as Bajaj Allianz Life, Max New York Life and Reliance Life insurance, have a market share of 3 to 4 per cent each. In the previous financial year, when the global financial crisis unfolded, insurance companies saw no growth in business when compared with the previous year. The life insurance industry grew by 6.58 per cent during the period under review.