THE business of life insurance in India had started 190 years back in 1818 with the establishment of the Oriental Life Insurance Company in Kolkata (then Calcutta). Later on, nine years after country’s Independence the insurance business in the country was under the state control. In 1956, the Indian government nationalized the life insurance business and created the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). After about 16 years in 1972 the government nationalized general insurance business by creating the General Insurance Corporation (GIC). The four subsidiaries companies under GIC - Oriental Insurance Company Limited, New India Assurance Company Limited, National Insurance Company Limited and United India Insurance Company Limited - started their operations under as GIC subsidiaries became independent companies since December 2000.
Following the passage of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act in 1999, India opened the insurance sector to private players as well breaking the monopoly of public sector players in the field. As a result of this open market policy the country witnessed significant growth in the insurance sector. IRDA had started issuing licenses from 2001.