1. Private players lead life insurers’ charge

Private players lead life insurers’ charge

While industry posts 20% y-o-y rise in new biz premium, private players register 35-78% growth

By: | Mumbai | Updated: July 31, 2015 2:09 AM
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According to Life Insurance Council data, the total new business premium of the insurance sector stood at Rs 23,568.88 crore for the quarter ended June 2015. Reuters

THE life insurance industry posted a 20% y-o-y rise in new business premium for the quarter ended June 2015 on the back of strong growth shown by private sector players, especially in the unit-linked insurance plan (Ulip) segment.

According to Life Insurance Council data, the total new business premium of the insurance sector stood at Rs 23,568.88 crore for the quarter ended June 2015 against Rs 19,701.63 crore in June 2014. Private players, such as HDFC Life, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance and Bajaj Allianz, registered growth in the range of 35-78% in April-June 2015.

In contrast, the new business premium of public sector giant Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) grew 17.21% during the period. The past few months have seen active participation in all segments — single-premium polices, traditional and group policies — according to market participants.

Gr5

Sunil Sharma, chief actuary at Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance, said: “Equity markets have surged in the past few months and we have seen many investors coming to Ulips. Having said that, we have also seen investors going in for participatory and non-participatory policies.” New business premium for the company stood at R386.82 crore for the quarter ended June 2015 against R217.27 crore y-o-y, a growth of 78%.

The industry sold 46,44,333 policies in the June quarter against 38,19,547 in the year-ago period, up 22%. However, a few players, such as   Max Life, Reliance Life and India First, bucked the trend, and reported  a fall in new business premium.

Market players believe the worst may be over for the life insurance industry and they expect  a growth of 15-17% in the current financial year. “A series of regulatory changes over the last few years severely hampered the industry. But with Irdai go-ahead to several policies and an improving  macro environment, we expect more people to buy life insurance plans. The June quarter is always considered a weak period, and a growth of 20% gives confidence that the industry can post strong numbers by end of the fiscal,” said a senior member of a top life insurance company.

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