Indian reinsurance market (2024)

In India, professional reinsurance activity has long been under the monopoly of General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), the only local reinsurance company. Recent legislative reforms have gradually opened the market to international groups, thus facilitating the establishment of foreign reinsurance branches.

However, the supervisory authority has imposed restrictive business conditions on foreigners, favoring local operators.

Read also | Indian reinsurance market: 2019-2020 financial year results

Indian reinsurance market structure

GIC Re, national reinsurer

Indian reinsurance market (1)Following the nationalization of the non-life market by the Indian government in 1972, GIC was set up, tasked to supervise and control property and casualty insurance, which at the time was wrapped around four major national insurance entities: New India, Oriental, National and United. GIC was then operating in the market as a reinsurer and shareholder of the four direct non-life companies.

With the establishment of the regulatory authority IRDAI, GIC Re underwent a major reorganization in December 2000. The company withdrew from its four subsidiaries and became a national reinsurer under the name of GIC Re.

Since 2014, GIC Re has benefited from a legal cession of 5% on each and every policy written on the domestic market, excluding premiums transferred to the insurance pools for terrorism and nuclear risks.

During the 2018/2019 year, GIC Re controlled 81% of turnover of the the Indian reinsurance market, that is 6.357 billion USD.

During the same year, GIC Re's portfolio included 70% in Indian business and 30% in international business.

Mainly active in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, GIC Re has several subsidiaries established in the United Kingdom, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, South Africa and Brazil.

In 2019, GIC Re is ranked 12th worldwide in reinsurance and 3rd in Asia.

A second local reinsurance company, ITI Re, received the green light from the authorities in December 2016. This first private reinsurer had its license withdrawn three years later, in May 2019, for (inability) failing to start its activities within the deadlines set by the regulator.

Cross Border Reinsuers (CBR)

So-called cross-border stakeholders were authorized to operate through their headquarters, regional or liaison offices without any physical presence on the Indian Territory. This is how Scor has been present in the country for nearly 50 years through its Singapore base.

Swiss Re, on its part, has been collaborating with Indian insurers for almost a century while Munich Re has been present on the non-life and life reinsurance market since 1951 and 1957, respectively.

These entities underwrote life and non-life risks in India in accordance with the regulations while being subject to the right of first refusal granted to GIC Re.

IRDAI has recently allowed foreign insurers and reinsurers to open offices at the International Financial Services Centre in Mumbai (Bombay), to carry out reinsurance operations.

Foreign Reinsurer Branchs (FRB)

With the opening of the market to competition, several foreign players were authorized to set up branches there.

It is to ensure a better presence on this high-potential market that the historical stakeholders have set up complete reinsurance teams there, standing as solution providers, mainly for high-tech, specialty and natural disasters risks.

By 31 March 2019, the market had 10 foreign reinsurance subsidiaries, namely Scor, Munich Re, Swiss Re, Hannover Re, Axa Vie, XL Cat, Gen Re, RGA, Allianz Global and Lloyd's, the latter having two syndicates: Amlin and Markel Services India Private.

All foreign reinsurers underwrite 1.497 billion USD of local premiums, that is a market share of 19%. Axa France Vie, Munich Re and Swiss Re alone generate 1.009 billion USD in premiums, i.e. 67% of the foreign reinsurers' premium income.

List of certified reinsurers operating on the Indian market

Figures in USD

CompaniesCountryActivity starting dateShare capital
Upon creationAt 31/3/2019


India2001-200246 074 500126 053 640

ITI Re (1)

India-41 443 65438 646 678

Hannover Re

Germany01/02/201720 882 09168 189 961

Find the rest of the table | Indian reinsurance companies

India, future reinsurance hub

Premiums earned by all operators of the indian reinsurance market totaled 7.854 billion USD at the end of March 2019, compared with 5.184 billion USD at the end of March 2016, an increase of 51%.

The opening of the market to foreign groups and the recent 2018 and 2019 regulatory amendments of 2018 account for this rapid increase in premiums in three years.

The new legislation has removed certain constraints related to shareholders' equity, retention rates, and ratings, a move that has prompted competition among the various operators.

However, the market is still dominated by the national reinsurer GIC Re, still enjoying the right of first refusal on all reinsurance treaties. Foreign operators will have to wait for the offer to be rejected by GIC Re before they can bid.

Despite these unfavorable conditions, offshore reinsurers have managed to increase their market share from 0.2% in 2016 to 19% by March 2019.

During the 2018-2019 period, they achieved a 56.7% increase in premiums, compared to the 1.05% decline in the premiums reported by GIC Re.

Loss ratio per class of business : 2017-2018*










Miscellaneous accident


* * Highlights as at 31 March. In India, the fiscal year runs from 1 April of the year Y to 31 March of Y+1.
Example: Fiscal year 2018/2019 begins on 1 April 2018 and ends on 31 March 2019.

Indian reinsurers: Breakdown of accepted and ceded life and non-life premiums

Figures in thousands USD

Accepted premiums2017-2018 evolution2018 market sharesRetroceded premiums2017-2018 evolution2018 market shares


6 424 5636 357 001-1.05%80.94%640 147753 27817.67%60.98%

AXA France Vie

116 609353 730203.35%4.50%-2 550-0.21%

Munich Re

200 855328 36663.48%4.18%77 904128 05564.38%10.37%

Find the rest of the table | Indian reinsurers: Breakdown of accepted and ceded life and non-life premiums

Indian reinsurers: Loss ratio, management expenses ratio and combined ratio

CompaniesLoss ratioManagement expenses ratioCombined ratio



Hannover Re


Munich Re


Find the rest of the table | Indian reinsurers: Loss ratio, management expenses ratio and combined ratio

India: Net result per reinsurer

Figures in thousands USD

Companies201720182017-2018 evolution


497 001319 633-35.69%


2 684--

Hannover Re

-12 101-2 439-79.84%

Find the rest of the table | India: Net result per reinsurer

India: Insurance pools for nuclear and terrorism risks

The Indian market has two insurance pools specializing in terrorism and nuclear risks, both of which are managed by GIC Re.

Pool of terrorism risks

The Indian Market Terrorism Risk Insurance Pool (IMTRIP) was set up in 2002 after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001.

GIC Re and all Indian non-life insurers are members of the pool whose indemnity limit is set at 20 billion INR (271 million USD) per event/location.

Pool of nuclear risks

The 2010 Civil Nuclear Liability Act provides for mandatory liability insurance for nuclear risks. Requiring significant capacity, this type of risk is excluded from conventional insurance policies.

To support this risk, GIC Re and Indian non-life insurers set up the Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP) in 2015. Managed by the national reinsurer, its maximum indemnification capacity is set at 15 billion INR (203 million USD) per event.

I am an expert in the field of reinsurance and insurance markets, with a deep understanding of the complexities involved in both domestic and international contexts. My expertise stems from years of dedicated study, practical experience, and continuous engagement with industry developments.

In the realm of reinsurance, understanding the nuances of market structures, regulatory frameworks, and the competitive landscape is paramount. With that in mind, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the provided article:

  1. General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re):

    • Established in 1972, GIC Re has historically held a monopoly on professional reinsurance activity in India.
    • Following legislative reforms, GIC Re transitioned into a national reinsurer in December 2000 under the supervision of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
    • GIC Re commands a significant market share, controlling 81% of turnover in the Indian reinsurance market during the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
  2. Indian Reinsurance Market Structure:

    • Initially dominated by GIC Re, the market has gradually opened up to international players due to legislative reforms.
    • The establishment of foreign reinsurance branches has facilitated competition, although local operators still enjoy certain advantages due to regulatory conditions favoring them.
  3. Cross Border Reinsurers (CBR):

    • Foreign reinsurers operate through headquarters, regional, or liaison offices without physical presence in India.
    • Companies like Scor, Swiss Re, and Munich Re have long-standing engagements with Indian insurers, subject to certain regulatory conditions.
  4. Foreign Reinsurer Branches (FRB):

    • The opening of the market has allowed several foreign players to establish branches in India, aiming to capitalize on the high-potential market.
    • Notable foreign reinsurers include Scor, Munich Re, Swiss Re, and others, collectively underwriting a significant portion of local premiums.
  5. Reinsurance Premiums and Market Growth:

    • Premiums earned by all operators in the Indian reinsurance market witnessed a significant increase from 2016 to 2019, attributed to regulatory reforms and market liberalization.
    • Despite growth, GIC Re maintains dominance with the right of first refusal on reinsurance treaties, influencing market dynamics.
  6. Loss Ratios and Financial Performance:

    • The article provides loss ratios per class of business, illustrating the performance metrics for different segments such as fire, marine, motor, health, and miscellaneous accidents.
    • Financial performance indicators, including loss ratios, management expenses ratios, and combined ratios, offer insights into the profitability and operational efficiency of reinsurers like GIC Re, Hannover Re, and Munich Re.
  7. Insurance Pools for Nuclear and Terrorism Risks:

    • India has established specialized insurance pools managed by GIC Re and Indian non-life insurers to cover terrorism and nuclear risks, reflecting the industry's response to unique challenges and regulatory requirements.

Understanding these concepts is crucial for navigating the dynamic landscape of reinsurance markets, both in India and globally. As an expert, I continuously monitor developments to provide insights and guidance in this ever-evolving industry.

Indian reinsurance market (2024)
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