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History of General Insurance in India

This sector covers almost everything related to property, vehicle, cash, household goods, health and also one's liability towards others.

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.

The major segments covered under general Insurance Policy India are:
a. Home Insurance
b. Health Insurance
c. Motor Insurance
d. Travel Insurance

Important timelines in the Indian General insurance :

1850 : General Insurance in India has its roots in the establishment of Triton Insurance Company Ltd., in Calcutta by the British.
1907 : Indian Mercantile Insurance Ltd, was set up. This was the first company to transact all classes of general insurance business.
1957 : the formation of the General Insurance Council, a wing of the Insurance Association of India. It framed a code of conduct for ensuring fair conduct and sound business practices.
1968 : the Insurance Act was amended to regulate investments and set minimum solvency margins. The Tariff Advisory Committee was also set up then.
1971 : The General Insurance Corporation of India was incorporated as a company and it commence business on January 1st 1973.
1972 : General Insurance Business (Nationalization) Act was passed and general insurance business was nationalized with effect from 1st January, 1973.

107 insurers were grouped into four companies, namely :
1.) National Insurance Company Ltd.,
2.) The New India Assurance Company Ltd.,
3.) The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and
4.) The United India Insurance Company Ltd.
1990s: The process of re-opening of the sector had began and the last decade and more has seen it been opened up substantially.
1993 : the Government set up a committee under the chairmanship of RN Malhotra, former Governor of RBI, to propose recommendations for reforms in the insurance sector.

The objective of Malhotra committee was to complement the reforms initiated in the financial sector.

The committee submitted its report in 1994 and recommended that the private sector be permitted to enter the insurance industry, preferably in a joint venture with Indian partners.
1999 : Following the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee report, in 1999, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) was constituted.
2000 : IRDA opened up the market with the invitation for application for registrations. Foreign companies were allowed ownership of up to 26% .
2000 : Subsidiaries of the General Insurance Corporation of India were restructured as independent companies and GIC was converted into a national re-insurer.
2002 : Parliament passed a bill de-linking the four subsidiaries from GIC.

Last updated on: 02/10/2019


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