Money & Banking

With PMFBY scheme being optional for farmers, crop insurance premium de-grows in Sept

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on October 13, 2020 Published on October 13, 2020

An employee of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute sprays the newly-developed bio-decomposer solution on a field to prevent stubble burning at a village in the North Delhi district. Photo: PTI

Crop insurance premium declined in September this year after recording positive growth in the previous months, possibly due to the lesser number of States participating in PMFBY, the scheme being optional for farmers, and a long delay in claims.

The gross direct premium for Agricultural Insurance Corporation of India de-grew by 19.3 per cent in September when compared to a year ago.

Data from IRDAI revealed that gross direct premium for AIC stood at ₹2,569.64 crore in September 2020against ₹3,187.57 crore in September 2019.

However, between April and September 2020, AIC registered a 10.63 per cent growth in gross direct premium to ₹7,250.80 crore against ₹6,554.36 crore in the same period a year ago.

The figures come in the backdrop of an overall 4.4 per cent decline in gross direct premium for non-life insurers in September 2020 to ₹23,056.80 crore from ₹24,121.56 crore a year ago.

Insurers said that typically the premium for kharif season is booked by September 15 every year.

“Many States have not participated in the scheme, so the premium is bound to be lower by about ₹10,000 crore this fiscal and will be about ₹21,000 crore. However, it is likely to increase as the tender for Madhya Pradesh was finalised late and the tender for Tamil Nadu is also likely to be finalised soon. So, this will add about ₹5,000 crore, which may get reflected in December,” said Satyajit Tripathy, General Manager, General Insurance Corporation of India.

Poor participation

States such as Gujarat, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have not participated in the scheme this year. “Typically, Gujarat brought in a large chunk of the premium. With States not participating, the premium will come down,” noted another insurer.

According to CARE Ratings, non-life premiums had increased in September 2019, primarily due to higher crop insurance premiums.

“In the current year, crop insurance premiums till August 2020 have been higher, but anecdotal data suggest that as the crop insurance scheme has been made optional, farmer enrolment has reduced,” it noted.

“September 2020 gross domestic premium income (GDPI) dipped four per cent year-on-year after three consecutive months of positive growth. The dip could be due to a large base of crop insurance in September 2019. Monthly average run rate of crop GDPI in FY20 was ₹2,700 crore, and September 2019 saw GDPI of ₹10,900 crore,” said ICICI Securities in a research report.

Under the new guidelines introduced by the Centre in February for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, it is optional for loanee farmers to join the scheme and business is allocated to insurers forthree years.

In kharif 2020, a total of 11 insurance companies participated in PMFBY, with as many as 1.37 crore farmers insured.

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Published on October 13, 2020
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