The insurance industry in Mauritius is relatively well developed with a market penetration which is higher than India and on the same level as Singapore (vide Vittas Report on the Insurance industry in Mauritius of March 2003).
The insurance sector was subject to the Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) conducted jointly by the IMF and World Bank in late 2002. An overall positive assessment of the insurance sector was made in the Financial Sector Assessment report released in August 2003. The report refers to the insurance industry as being "well developed". It also states that "the large and medium sized companies are efficient and financially strong. Despite the high level of concentration, the insurance industry appears competitive, efficient, and reasonably profitable". The Report recommends the promotion of further consolidation in the industry — to ensure sound competition and greater safety by raising the level of minimum capital and introducing risk-based capital requirements.
Insurance companies are becoming an important segment of the domestic financial sector, offering a variety of insurance services ranging from long term insurance business, such as life assurance, pensions and permanent health insurance, to general insurance business, such as fire, motor, workmen's compensation, employer's liability and miscellaneous insurances. The contribution of the insurance industry to the Mauritian economy as a whole has grown from 16% in 1998 to 19% in 2002.
Insurance business is largely private sector owned. There are currently 23 Insurance companies operating in Mauritius of which 3 are foreign insurers. Four of the registered
registered insurers carry out both long and general insurance businesses 1 foreign insurer is a "Survey, Settling and Recovery Agent" for foreign underwriters.
Total assets of the registered insurance Companies stood at Rs 27 billion as at December 2002, representing a 13% growth rate during the course of 2002. In fact, assets of insurance companies have experienced a uniform growth of 13% since 2000.
The 20 operational Insurance Companies involved in long term and general businesses operate in a highly oligopolistic manner with a few companies holding the major share of market. In 2002, 3 Insurance Companies controlled 73% of the total assets with the largest being the state--ied company, State Insurance company of Mauritius (SICOM) which on own adsorbed 37% of the total _Irance Company's' assets. However, it uld be noted that 58% of SICOM's assets includes the assets of the parastatal pension schemes which are administered but not insured by SICOM. The same 3 Insurance Companies generated 80% of the total gross premiums.