Life insurance companies reported a 30 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth in new business premiums (NBP) in November due to a stellar show by state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), even as private insurers saw their premium growth moderating.
Data released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India reveals the life insurance industry’s NBP was to the tune of Rs 35,458 crore in November, up 30 percent YoY.
While private sector insurers reported marginal growth of 2 percent YoY to Rs 11,426 crore, LIC’s NBP soared 51 percent YoY to Rs 24,032 crore during the same period.
LIC’s growth in NBP was mostly driven by group single premiums, which were up almost 70 percent YoY in November.
LIC is the largest player in the group single premium market.
NBP is the premium acquired from new policies for a particular year. It is the sum of the first-year premium and single premium, reflecting the total premiums received from the new business written.
However, on an annualized premium equivalent (APE) basis, private sector life insurance companies grew 21 percent, following a 3-11 percent growth over the past three months.
Likewise, LIC’s premium on an APE basis was up 30 percent YoY in November, as opposed to 11-15 percent in the past three months. Analysts said increased activity after a slowdown in business in October due to the festival season could be the reason for higher growth in November.
APE is the sum of the total value of regular or recurring premiums plus 10 percent of any new single premium written for the financial year.
Among listed private players, HDFC Life reported a 41 percent YoY jump in NBP in November, aided by a robust rise in group single premiums, individual single premiums, and individual non-single premiums.
Max Life posted a decent 11 percent YoY growth in NBP during this period, on the back of individual single premiums.
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, on the other hand, reported a flat growth of 1 percent in NBP as its non-single premium declined 28 percent.
Surprisingly, SBI Life posted a 32 percent drop in NBP in November as its group single premium segment declined 75 percent during this period.
However, on an individual APE basis, HDFC Life reported 45 percent growth and SBI Life 30 percent growth (overall APE grew 11.5 percent as group APE was down 73 percent).
According to a Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE) report, ICICI Prudential Life remained weak, largely due to the slowdown faced by the parent bank, with a 1 percent decline in the overall APE.
Bajaj Allianz reported 26 percent growth, almost similar to the past two months.
Tata AIA Life was the strongest at 57 percent growth YoY.
In 2022-23 (FY23) so far, life insurers have reported a 34 percent YoY increase in NBP to Rs 2.42 trillion, with LIC’s premium witnessing 43.26 percent growth and private insurers growing 18.17 percent YoY.
“We remain positive on medium-term growth prospects, even as we do not rule out some weakness due to rising deposit rates in the near term,” said KIE in its report.
According to analysts at Emkay Research, a slightly difficult external macroeconomic environment means that the rest of FY23 remains crucial to growth.
“With a host of reforms by the regulator and the government on the anvil, growth volatility in the sector and the individual company-specific, non-operating issues would mean that stocks will remain volatile in the near term,” they observed.