India's largest non-life insurer, the government controlled The New India Assurance Company, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year.
Founded in July 1919 by the Tata group, one of the country’s largest business conglomerates, the company is today India’s only true multinational insurer operating in 28 countries around the world.
Speaking at the inauguration of the centenary year celebrations on Monday in New Delhi, Vice President of India, Mr Venkaiah Naidu said, “India is today pursuing a reform agenda and rapid transformation is happening around the country and insurers have an important role to play in this new India.”
Applauding the role of The New India Assurance in the government’s mass insurance schemes, Mr Naidu mentioned the impact of this on the agriculture sector in the country where the government’s Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) scheme is impacting communities and strengthening the rural economy.
“PMFBY can make agriculture sustainable and insurers must ensure that claims are settled on time to minimise farmer distress,” he said.
He urged all insurers to make India fully insured at the earliest. He pointed out that the overall insurance penetration reached only 3.69% in 2017.
Mr Rajiv Kumar, secretary of the department of financial services, of the government of India, in his address highlighted the critical role of the company in protecting the assets of the nation.
“Since nationalisation the company has grown from strength to strength and today it has its presence everywhere and covers everything from farms to satellites,” he said. New India has 2,452 offices across the country with a staff strength of 17,702 and over 68,389 tied agents.
Addressing the audience, Mr G Srinivasan, chairman and managing director of the company, said that this was indeed a historic day for the company.
“It was the vision of the founders that the company should be the domestic leader with a global presence, and today we are the market leader for over 40 years,” he said.
The company posted a 19% increase in y-o-y premium income to INR265bn ($3.8bn) for the financial year ended 31 March 2018 and net profit surged y-o-y by 116% to INR22.01bn for the same year. “We are a listed company and ready for any challenge that might come our way and actively serve all segments of society,” he said.