The country’s largest insurance company, LIC or Life Insurance Corporation of India has reported a sharp slide in their market share from 77 % to 70 % mainly due to fall in premium collections in the first nine months of the year that in ended December 2014.
The management is confident of company’s bounce back in the last quarter of the year expecting a steady rise in premium collections during the last quarter. Mr. SK Roy, chairman of LIC told us that they are confident that company will deliver a stellar performance as they have witnessed an increase in premium collections by 180 % and 161 % in January and February respectively during the previous year. He further gave guidance about products to be in demand during the next quarter and indicated that traditional products will remain in demand as their returns are linked to their bonus.
According to IRDA data, industry is witnessing slow growth with major players in the industry have registered drop in premium collections during first nine months of the year. Drop in premium collections was visible across the sector and led by LIC with drop by 21 % whereas industry saw a slump of 12 %. The figures stood at INR 51,667 crores for LIC whereas industry figures stood at INR 73,777 crores.
As per analysis, LIC’s loss of market share has proven a boon for major private players in the industry as they gained market share while some industry experts has attributed to rise of these private players to stock market. Stock markets have gained more than 20 % after new government came into power and optimism all around which has direct correlation with performance of private players. Private players have aggressively marketed ULIPs which are directly linked to markets and that is how some of them have gained market share over the last few quarters. The market share of HDFC Standard Life, ICICI Prudential and SBI’s market share stood at 4.66, 4.88 and 4.5 from 2.98, 3 and 3.5 percent respectively.
It is believed that these private players will further give a fight to LIC as stock market is expected to do well due to governments favorable policies said Karthick Srinivasan, Vice President, ICRA, the rating company. However, LIC disagreed with this analysis and said that the reasons for decline in premium collection is due to sluggishness in the economy, weak global macro environment, regulatory restrictions and taxation issues. Mr. SK Roy further said that too much credit is given to ULIPs as well. He also said that LIC expects business to grow very soon as it awaits approval for offering ULIPs and other products.
In an another interview, one of the spokesman from HDFC Standard Life attributed growth of market share to innovative product launches, demand for ULIPs and thrust on distribution channels. He further said that business will continue to grow as we are witnessing growth rate of more than 20% in our premium collections especially in the health segment of the insurance business. But market situations like economy and results from LIC will also make a mark on our performance in the last quarter, he added.
(Source: This article has been adapted from the article "LIC premium collection falls 21% in April-December; Market share slides to 70%" that appeared on February 12, 2015 in economictimes.indiatimes.com)