ICICI Prudential Life Insurance on Tuesday reported a marginal two per cent year-on-year growth in its net income to Rs 311 crore for the December 2021 quarter, on higher sales of policies.
The company has reported a 20 per cent growth in the value of the new business to Rs 515 crore, while margins rose to 26.7 per cent in the quarter. It helped the firm maintain profitability despite lower income from investments, which came in at Rs 734 crore, much lower than the year-ago period when it had booked Rs 19,491 crore in net gains as the markets were on a song.
The management described the quarter as a steady one on the back of minimal COVID-19 claims, which stood at Rs 70 crore, as the severity of the pandemic infections and mortality came down during the quarter.
Its total claims/ benefits during December 2021 stood at Rs 7,665 crore, up from Rs 6,817 crore a year ago.
So far, the company has paid a net of re-insurance, about Rs 1,200 crore towards the pandemic claims. Of this, Rs 984 crore was in the first half of the current fiscal alone and the rest in FY21.
The company is still carrying Rs 203 crore in pandemic provisions even though the third wave does not look as fatal as the second wave with lower mortalities and far fewer hospitalisations, its Managing Director and Chief Executive N S Kannan told PTI in a post-earnings call this evening.
Its total premium income stood at Rs 9,344 crore, marginally up from Rs 9,152 crore, while the premium on re-insurance ceded rose to Rs 270 crore from Rs 181 crore, fetching it a net premium income of Rs 9,074 crore, marginally up from Rs 8,971 crore.
The insurer paid Rs 421 crore in commissions to its agents, up from Rs 386 crore a year ago, as it sold 20 per cent more policies than in the year-ago period, taking total expenses to Rs 1,042 crore, up from Rs 890 crore. But, the total outgo was much lower at Rs 9,527 crore, massively down from Rs 28,158 crore year-on-year.
"We have maintained positive momentum in business and profitability, and have registered a strong year-on-year growth of 20 per cent in the value of new business (VNB). Almost half of our new business premium has been contributed by the protection and annuity products," Kannan said.
He added that with this strong performance and continued focus on the 4P strategy, the company remains on track to achieve its aspiration of doubling the FY19 VNB by FY23. "The company has been growing at an annualised rate of 35 per cent, much higher than the targeted 28 per cent annually during these years."
During the quarter, the company became a signatory to the UN-supported principles of responsible investment (commitment to sustainability), thus becoming the domestic insurer to do so. During the quarter, it also became the country's first insurance company to offer an ESG-focused fund to its customers, he said.
For the nine months of the fiscal, it delivered a strong 35 per cent year-on-year growth in VNB to Rs 1,388 crore, from Rs 1,030 crore a year ago, led by robust growth of 30 per cent in new business premium.
Its annuity business grew 75 per cent constituting 20 per cent of the overall new business premium and the protection business constituted 28 per cent of the overall new business premium. With this, the protection and annuity segments contributed almost half of the new business premium and both these segments are significantly under-penetrated, Kannan said.
Its 13th-month persistency ratio improved to 84.8 per cent for nine months of this fiscal, from 82.7 per cent year-on-year, indicating the quality of business being underwritten.
Assets under management rose to a record high of Rs 2.376 lakh crore, a growth of 16 per cent over December 2020.
Shares of ICICI Prudential on Tuesday fell one per cent to Rs 608.85 on the BSE, ahead of the earnings announcement in the evening.