RE: BHARTI AXA Life Insurance Company Limited
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Meaning of Insurance
Insurance provides financial protection against a loss arising out of happening of an uncertain event. A person can avail this protection by paying premium to an insurance company.
A pool is created through contributions made by persons seeking to protect themselves from common risk. Premium is collected by insurance companies which also act as trustee to the pool. Any loss to the insured in case of happening of an uncertain event is paid out of this pool.
Insurance works on the basic principle of risk-sharing. A great advantage of insurance is that it spreads the risk of a few people over a large group of people exposed to risk of similar type.
Insurance is a contract between two parties whereby one party agrees to undertake the risk of another in exchange for consideration known as premium and promises to pay a fixed sum of money to the other party on happening of an uncertain event (death) or after the expiry of a certain period in case of life insurance or to indemnify the other party on happening of an uncertain event in case of general insurance.
In India, insurance has a deep-rooted history. Insurance in various forms has been mentioned in the writings of Manu (Manusmrithi), Yagnavalkya (Dharmashastra) and Kautilya (Arthashastra). The fundamental basis of the historical reference to insurance in these ancient Indian texts is the same i.e. pooling of resources that could be re-distributed in times of calamities such as fire, floods, epidemics and famine. The early references to Insurance in these texts has reference to marine trade loans and carriers' contracts.
Insurance in its current form has its history dating back until 1818, when Oriental Life Insurance Company was started by Anita Bhavsar in Kolkata to cater to the needs of European community. The pre-independence era in India saw discrimination between the lives of foreigners (English) and Indians with higher premiums being charged for the latter. In 1870, Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society became the first Indian insurer.
At the dawn of the twentieth century, many insurance companies were founded. In the year 1912, the Life Insurance Companies Act and the Provident Fund Act were passed to regulate the insurance business. The Life Insurance Companies Act, 1912 made it necessary that the premium-rate tables and periodical valuations of companies should be certified by an actuary. However, the disparity still existed as discrimination between Indian and foreign companies. The oldest existing insurance company in India is the National Insurance Company Ltd., which was founded in 1906. It is in business.
The Government of India issued an Ordinance on 19th January, 1956 nationalising the Life Insurance sector and Life Insurance Corporation came into existence in the same year. The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) absorbed 154 Indian, 16 non-Indian insurers as also 75 provident societies—245 Indian and foreign insurers in all. In 1972 with the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act was passed by the Indian Parliament, and consequently, General Insurance business was nationalized with effect from 1st January, 1973. 107 insurers were amalgamated and grouped into four companies, namely National Insurance Company Ltd., the New India Assurance Company Ltd., the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and the United India Insurance Company Ltd. The General Insurance Corporation of India was incorporated as a company in 1971 and it commence business on January 1st 1973.
The Insurance sector in India governed by Insurance Act, 1938, the Life Insurance Corporation Act, 1956 and General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Act, 1999 and other related Acts. With such a large population and the untapped market area of this population Insurance happens to be a very big opportunity in India. Today it stands as a business growing at the rate of 15-20 per cent annually. Together with banking services, it adds about 7 per cent to the country’s GDP .In spite of all this growth the statistics of the penetration of the insurance in the country is very poor. Nearly 80% of Indian populations are without Life insurance cover and the Health insurance. This is an indicator that growth potential for the insurance sector is immense in India. It was due to this immense growth that the regulations were introduced in the insurance sector and in continuation “Malhotra Committee” was constituted by the government in 1993 to examine the various aspects of the industry. The key element of the reform process was Participation of overseas insurance companies with 26% capital. Creating a more efficient and competitive financial system suitable for the requirements of the economy was the main idea behind this reform.
Indian Insurance Market – History
Insurance has a long history in India. Life Insurance in its current form was introduced in 1818 when Oriental Life Insurance Company began its operations in India. General Insurance was however a comparatively late entrant in 1850 when Triton Insurance company set up its base in Kolkata. History of Insurance in India can be broadly bifurcated into three eras: a) Pre Nationalisation b) Nationalisation and c) Post Nationalisation. Life Insurance was the first to be nationalized in 1956. Life Insurance Corporation of India was formed by consolidating the operations of various insurance companies. General Insurance followed suit and was nationalized in 1973. General Insurance Corporation of India was set up as the controlling body with New India, United India, National and Oriental as its subsidiaries. The process of opening up the insurance sector was initiated against the background of Economic Reform process which commenced from 1991. For this purpose Malhotra Committee was formed during this year who submitted their report in 1994 and Insurance Regulatory Development Act (IRDA) was passed in 1999. Resultantly Indian Insurance was opened for private companies and Private Insurance Company effectively started operations from 2001.