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1 in 3 life insurance policies in India sold to women: SBI report

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Every one in three life insurance policies in India are sold to women even as the insurance industry is set for an overhaul post Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a research by State Bank of India’s Economic Research Department, the number of policies issued to women in FY21 is around 93 lakh which is a 33 per cent share as against a share of 32.23 per cent in 2019-20.

The proportion of policies on women in case of private life insurers is 27 per cent and that of LIC is 35 per cent, says the report authored by Dr Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, SBI.

In 19 states/UTs, the share in number of policies bought by women to the total policies sold is higher than the all-India average of 33 per cent.

The insurance penetration in India increased from 2.71 per cent in FY01 to 5.20 per cent in FY09 due to liberalization but thereafter, the level of penetration was declining and reached 3.30 per cent in FY14.

However, with significant government support and universal insurance schemes (PMJJBY, PMSBY), the insurance penetration started increasing again from FY15 and is at 4.20 per cent in FY21.

The pandemic has made people aware not only about the indispensability of health insurance policies but also about the need to have adequate coverage, better features and seamless services. The realization has led more people to buy new policies or port to insurers who offer better coverage and claim settlement.

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In FY21, the retail health insurance policies have shown a massive jump of 28.5 per cent to Rs 26,301 crore and continued to grow in FY22 also. During April 2021-January 2022, health insurance portfolio of insurers increased by 25.9 per cent, with rise in retail health policies of 17.3 per cent and group policies of 30.1 per cent.

The death claims paid by the life insurance industry has increased by 40.8 per cent to Rs 41,958 crore in FY21. In case of individual life insurance business, during FY21, the life insurers paid 10.84 lakh claims, with a total benefit amount of Rs 26,422 crore (46.4% growth). The ticket size of the death claims increased to Rs 2.44 lakh in FY21, compared to Rs 2.13 lakh in FY20. The rise in death claims appears to be due to the increased deaths during Covid-19.

The SBI report also points out that despite digitalisation, the share of policies sold through online and web aggregators stands at 1.9 per cent in terms of premium value and around 1.6 per cent in terms of number of policies. The growing channel is ‘Bancassurance’, in which the share in premium collections has increased to 29 per cent in FY21 from 16.6 per cent in FY14. However, in case of private insurers, the share of ‘Bancassurance’ is around 55 per cent, while LIC depends mostly on ‘individual agents’.

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