Future Generali India Insurance has grown at 26 per cent for the last three years and is confident of continued double-digit growth. In an interview with BusinessLine , Anup Rau, Managing Director and CEO, Future Generali India Insurance, says the company is upbeat about non-health, non-motor segments and that Generali, the Trieste-based Italian insurance company, is keen to increase its stake in the insurer. Edited excerpts:
How is the business since the onset of the pandemic?
In 2020-21, we had double-digit growth, at 12-12.5 per cent, while the industry grew at about seven per cent. Overall, the industry has done well despite the pandemic. The appreciation for insurance and for mitigating risk has gone up. People realise they need to protect their assets.
What is your outlook for the coming year?
A lot of people talk about health being the new motor and health overtaking motor in the next few years. But I have another hypothesis that there will be a segment which is non-auto, non-health that will pick up. These could be covers like household insurance, fire insurance for people like us, pet insurance, cyber insurance for individuals. A lot of these niches will grow faster than anything else. The non-health, non-motor segment over the next five to seven years can be significant and will be 10 per cent of our top line.
Is there a likelihood of the Future Group exiting the company?
I can’t speak for shareholders but I can say that Generali is very clear that they want to increase the stake in our business to the fullest extent permitted by regulations... 74 per cent is what the new regulations permit and I’m confident they’ll go as close to it as possible. They’re very committed to India. Second, we are profitable and we will be profitable for a long time. We really don’t need promoters to infuse capital to continue growing.
How has the experience been on the health side, given the high claims for the industry?
We’ve done pretty well. We were not significant in health. In retail health, we were ranked 17 three years back. Today, we are in the top 10. It’s an area of focus — we want to double our health top-line every year from here on. We do a lot of health on the group side. And our claims are best in class. We are not worried about claims, as experience with Covid has been poor for the industry as a whole.
How is the group health business doing?
Yes, there was hardening of rates both on life and health covers because of the pandemic. As long as there’s some uncertainty on how this is going to play out, the rates are going to harden. Even the reinsurers had hardened the rates. It’s a cycle. On the retail health side, most companies haven’t passed on the burden to the customer. But there has been some level of margin shrinkage, which most companies have absorbed on the retail side. On the group health side, yes, there’s been hardening. Our proposition is that we are not the cheapest, but we are the best when it comes to settling claims. We retain 95 per cent of our customers in group health and are happy to grow within our metrics of claim servicing.
Any wish list for the Budget?
One is tax benefits for health insurance, as it will ensure more people are covered with their own insurance and would not be a burden on the government. I believe the advantages far outweigh any revenue loss. The government should also consider including third-party motor insurance for a tax break.