Growth in the life insurance industry (individual and group policies) slowed to 22% in the fiscal ended March 31, 2018 from 26% in the previous fiscal, according to a report by brokerage Kotak Securities.
Growth in the life insurance industry (individual and group policies) slowed to 22% in the fiscal ended March 31, 2018 from 26% in the previous fiscal, according to a report by brokerage Kotak Securities. In terms of individual policies, data from Edelweiss Securities, an investment research and securities broking firm, indicate that individual annual premium equivalent (APE) grew 19% to Rs 63,470 crore in the financial year. While private life insurance players registered a growth of 24.3% in APE to Rs 35,667 crore, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), the state-owned insurer and market leader by far, saw its individual APE grow at 13.4% to Rs 247,802 crore.
Despite positive growth in the last financial year, in the month of March individual APE of the industry grew in low single digits, at 6%. Kotak Institutional Equities in its report on Insurance stated that, “March 2018 was a cold month for the life insurance with individual life insurance APE growth slowing down. Slowdown was visible across the board unlike in previous months in which ICICI and SBI were pulling down growth. A high base and concerns on capital market trajectory are the likely reasons.” The report added that: “FY2018 ended with 22% private sector APE growth (down from 26% in FY17), which includes individual and group; we expect a further moderation at 15-20% in FY2019E”.
However, while the industry average growth may be trending down, big players like Bajaj Allianz, SBI Life, Tata AIG, HDFC Standard Life continued to notch up individual APE growth of over 30% in the last fiscal. Tarun Chugh, managing director and chief executive officer, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance said, “It was a very good year for us and we have been the fastest growing life insurer, among the top private insurers. There has been lot of work happening. We have realigned our distribution and our geographic segmentation.
For example, while we are concentrating heavily on tier II and tier III towns, we have now increased our presence in top cities also.” According to the data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai), first year premiums for the life insurance industry stood at Rs 1.93 lakh crore in 2017-18 as against Rs 1.75 lakh crore a growth of around 11%. Industry participants also say that, last year growth mostly came from the individual single premiums and individual non-single premiums. While growth was across traditional and unit linked insurance plans (Ulips), post changes in the long term capital gain tax (LTCG) on equities and equity mutual funds have given an upper-hand to Ulips.