I compared the returns of the same management - Prudential ICICI Mutual Fund, and ICICI Prudential Insurance policies and found that over the last three years, their growth mutual fund has given better returns than the "MAXIMISER" option of their ULIPs.
I compared the NAVs on 1st August of 2004, 2005, and 2006. How much they grew over the previous year is given below
Pru-ICICI Growth Fund: 39% (05-06) and 61% (04-05)
ICICI Pru ULIP Lifetime Maximiser plans: 35% (05-06) and 44% (04-05)
Note also that ULIPs generally remove your units as their Annual management charge and monthly charges. Mutual funds account for those in the NAV itself. Therefore, for the same dates, your real return on the ULIP would be lower than the figures mentioned, but on the Mutual funds would be the same as above.