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Insurance industry In India

The insurance business in India started in 1818 with the setting up of Oriental Life Insurance Company in Kolkata. Initially the insurance sector in India was an open competitive market. Later on the market was nationalized and now since early 2000’s it has taken the form of a liberalized market once again.
The history of general insurance business in India can be traced back to Triton Insurance Company Ltd. (the first general insurance company) which was formed in the year 1850 in Kolkata by the British. In 1972, 107 insurers were integrated and grouped into four companies viz. the National Insurance Company Ltd., the New India Assurance Company Ltd., the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. and the United India Insurance Company Ltd. GIC was incorporated as a controller body . Various insurers were clubbed and nationalized to bring about market penetration (rural market), control and uniformity in rates and services offered by them. Protection of the policy holder's interest was of paramount importance. However, in early 2000’s it was liberalized with the aim of providing more innovative products at competitive rates.
The insurance sector has progressed significantly. A growing middle-class segment, rising income, increasing insurance awareness, rising investments and infrastructure spending, have laid a strong foundation to extend insurance services in India. The increase in coverage in the last 10yrs has been almost 20 times. In 2001 the coverage was 20 million where as in 2010 it rose to 230 million.
The Indian insurance industry is poised for giant leaps with scope for deeper penetration. The industry is supposed to touch US $ 400 (Rs.18 lak crore) billion by the year 2020. This is very much possible if the players adopt a customer centric approach. Customer Centric approach involves providing more specialized products at affordable rates, and excellent pre and after sale services.