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Government Insurance Companies in India – Nationalization and After (United India,National Insurance,LIC,GIC,Oriental Insurance,New India Assurance)

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India’s Insurance History

Insurance in India  in its current form has its history dating back until 1818, when Oriental Life Insurance Company was  to cater to the needs of European community. In 1870, Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society became the first Indian insurer. In the year 1912, the Life Insurance Companies Act and the Provident Fund Act were passed to regulate the insurance business. The Life Insurance Companies Act, 1912 made it necessary that the premium-rate tables and periodical valuations of companies should be certified by an actuary. The oldest existing insurance company in India is the National Insurance Company Ltd., which was founded in 1906. It is in business.

India’s Insurance Nationalization – Formation of LIC and GIC

The Government of India issued an Ordinance on 19th January, 1956 nationalizing the Life Insurance sector and Life Insurance Corporation came into existence in the same year. The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) absorbed 154 Indian, 16 non-Indian insurers as also 75 provident societies—245 Indian and foreign insurers in all. In 1972 with the General Insurance Business (Nationalization) Act was passed by the Indian Parliament, and consequently, General Insurance business was nationalized with effect from 1st January, 1973. 107 insurers were amalgamated and grouped into four companies, namely National Insurance Company Ltd., the New India Assurance Company Ltd., the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and the United India Insurance Company Ltd.

LIC and GIC Subsidiaries – Breaking of the Monopoly

The LIC had monopoly till the late 90s when the Insurance sector was reopened to the private sector.Now more than 20 life insurance companies in India have started operations with the industry size expected to reach a mammoth $350-400 billion by 2020. Before that, the industry consisted of only two state insurers: Life Insurance Corporation of India, LIC and General Insurers (General Insurance Corporation of India, GIC). GIC has four subsidiaries

  1. National Insurance Company Limited
  2. Oriental Insurance Company Limited
  3. New India Assurance Company Limited,
  4. United India Insurance Company Limited.

Government Life Insurance Companies

Life Insurance Corporation of India – Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is a Government of India enterprise, and is  the largest life insurance company and also the largest investor of the country. LIC had been established in 1956, after the Life Insurance Corporation Act had been passed by the Parliament of India in the same year. It also provides savings features along with various insurance policies. LIC continues to be the dominant life insurer even in the liberalized scenario of Indian insurance and is moving fast on a new growth trajectory surpassing its own past records. It had crossed the milestone of issuing 1,01,32,955 new policies by 2005, posting a healthy growth rate of 16.67%.

Government General Insurance Companies

General Insurance in India too has seen increasing competition with the liberalization in the 90s.The growing Indian market has attracted all the top insurance companies worldwide.Almost 12 private general insurance companies in India have commenced operations providing tough competition to the government owned general insurers.

  1. United India Insurance Company -  General Insurance operations of southern region of Life Insurance Corporation of India were merged with United India Insurance Company Limited in 1972. United India has been designing and implementing complex covers to large customers, as in cases of ONGC Ltd , GMR- Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, Mumbai International Airport Ltd Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam etc.
  2. The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd- The Company was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oriental Government Security Life Assurance Company Ltd and was formed to carry out General Insurance business.  In 2003 all shares of our company held by the General Insurance Corporation of India has been transferred to Central Government.  The Gross Premium went up to Rs.58 crores in 1973 and grew to Rs. 4078 crores in 2009
  3. National Insurance- Consequent to passing of the General Insurance Business Nationalisation Act in 1972, National became a subsidiary of General Insurance Corporation of India . It is the second largest non life insurer in India having a large market presence in Northern and Eastern India. The products cater to the diverse insurance requirements of its 14 million policyholders.
  4. The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. -The company like the other GIC subsidiaries is a leading  insurance group, with offices and branches throughout India and various countries abroad. There are policies to cover all types of vehicles plying on public roads such as Scooters &Motorcycle, Private cars, all types of commercial vehicles, Motor Trade (vehicles in show rooms and garages). Liability is covered for an unlimited amount in respect of death or injury and damage to third party property for Rs.7.5 lacs under Commercial vehicle and private and Rs. 1 lakh for Scooters / Motor Cycles. This policy covers loss or damage to the insured vehicle and its accessories due to fire, self-ignition, burglary, earthquake, flood, inundation, cyclone or while in transit.
PG

Abhishek Shah

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