New India Assurance foresees higher fire, property premiums soon

Property and fire insurance companies are preparing to hike their premiums from January, on the heels of a hardening of health insurance rates.

''We do see a hardening of property and fire insurance segments beginning from the new calendar year. However, I can't tell you to what extent the premiums are likely to go up as it will vary from company to company,'' New India Assurance chairman and managing director G Srinivasan told reporters in New Delhi, even as he unveiled his company's cheapest-ever health insurance top-up plan (See: New India launches country's cheapest health insurance top-up ).

''The market has already hardened in the group health insurance sector for the past 2-3 months so as to bring it in line with the burning cost of the insurers,'' he said.

He added that premium hardening in group health insurance has taken place only after 3-4 years.

''Premium rates are slightly catching up with the underwriting,'' he said.

According to him, New India Assurance has already underwritten premiums worth around  Rs2,300 crore under the health insurance segment in the first half of the current fiscal, ending 30 September and it was looking at crossing the mark of Rs4,000 crore by the end of the financial year in March.

Talking about the health insurance loss ratio in his company, Srinivasan said that it was at 89 per cent during the first half of the current fiscal, as compared to the mark of 97 per cent during the corresponding period last fiscal.