The Indian insurance market: what does it need?


K Sanath Kumar, acting chairman and managing director, GIC Re, describes the Indian Government’s social insurance schemes and the country’s fast-growing economy.

“Develop products that are easy to understand, simple to administer, and if the need arises, easy to claim from.” This should be the cardinal principle for any insurance industry, especially in markets that are poorly penetrated as far as insurance is concerned. Plus, in an emerging market such as India where insurance awareness and penetration is still far below the global benchmarks, the focus should be the customer.

This cardinal principle and the desired focus have been spoken about a lot but no-one has walked the talk until now. Over the last year the government of India has not only walked the talk but also with its variety of simple yet very effective social insurance schemes has created an ecosystem that can enable a quick jump in insurance penetration in the country. 

India is a fast-growing economy and in far better shape than many other developing and developed economies. Also, since the year 2000 when the Indian insurance industry was opened up for private players with foreign direct investment (FDI) of 26 percent, the industry has registered an uninterrupted impressive growth rate in double digits. This impressive performance is not reflected on the ground, however. 

K Sanath Kumar, GIC Re, Asia-Pacific

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