Life insurance companies record first fall in new biz premiums growth since July

Latest data from the IRDAI showed that the NBP in November for life insurers came at Rs. 19,159 crore against Rs. 26,221 crore in the same period last year, recording a fall of 27%. The industry had recorded a 32% growth in NBP in the month of October.

The data showed that private life insurers reported a 5% decline in overall new business premium. HDFC Life, however, recorded a 10.7% fall in this category. Even so, the life insurer’s growth metrics in retail business has been stellar. Its retail business showed a year-on-year growth of 20% on annualised premium equivalent (APE) basis, according to Jefferies India Pvt Ltd. This compares with a 33% decline for the industry as a whole and a 54% decline for government-owned largest life insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).

The largest private life insurer, SBI Life Insurance Company saw a decline of 6% in its retail APE, the brokerage added. “HDFC Life has likely maintained a strong focus on non- linked savings (both par and annuities), while growth in retail and credit-protect has also helped,” analysts at Jefferies wrote in a note.

Analysts expect growth numbers to improve in the fourth quarter of FY21 for the industry, again due to a base effect. Recall that in March, life insurers had reported a sharp contraction because of the lockdown in the last week of the month. HDFC Life is expected to shine among peers again.

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