Indias life insurance sector reported a 5.5% degrowth in first year premiums in May 2021 as the deadly second wave of the coronavirus pandemic caused these companies to go slow on new business especially on the term cover segment.
The degrowth was largely on the back of slow business by Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC) in the month, even as some private sector insurers such as
Max Life and India First reported strong growth in the month albeit a lower base.
The life insurance industry, which includes 23 private insurers and state-owned behemoth LIC, cumulatively collected first year premiums worth Rs 12977 crore in May 2021, against Rs 13739 crore in May last year, data from Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) showed.
New business degrowth in the reporting month comes despite a low base in the same period of last year, which too saw nation-wide lockdowns owing to the pandemic. Insurers reported an 11% growth in new premium in the year to date (YTD) period of FY22 against the same period last year.
State-owned life insurer LIC collected new premiums worth Rs 8,947.64 crore in May, showing a YoY decline of 12.38 percent. Private life insurers, on the other hand, showed a YoY rise of 14.23 percent in their May new premium collection at Rs 4,029.35 crore.
While the industry reported growth in May, it was still a departure from the performance of the sector in April when life insurers saw a 44.8 percent YoY growth in first year premiums at Rs 9,378.79 crore in April 2021.
Among the listed insurers, HDFC Life collected new premiums worth Rs 935.01 crore - a growth of 46.64 percent against corresponding month of last year. ICICI Prudential on the other hand, reported a marginal decline of 3.9% in the period, collecting new premiums of Rs 652.06 crore.
SBI Life collected new premiums of Rs 648.41 crore, showing a 1.6 percent increase on a YoY basis. Max Life saw new premiums grow 25%, while India First Life saw premiums in the month grow by 77%, according to IRDAI data.
Two-year individual Annualized Premium Equivalent CAGR decline at 16% is similar to trends observed in April 2021, (which is an) impact of lockdown-related disruptions, Kotak Securities said in a report.
We don’t find any specific trend – even as players like ICICI Prudential Life (up 28% yoy in individual business APE), Bajaj (up 32%) and HDFC Life (up 17%, 22% on overall basis) were strong, Max Life was up 12% and SBI Life was down 6%, according to the report
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