The News Scroll 07 July 2020  Last Updated at 8:22 pm | Source: PTI

Liberty General Insurance pins hopes on commercial, health biz to drive growth

Liberty General Insurance pins hopes on commercial, health biz to drive growth
Mumbai, Jul 7 (PTI) Liberty General Insurance will focus on commercial and health insurance to drive growth this year as its bread and butter motor cover business has taken a hit due to COVID-19 induced lockdowns, and the company expects it to remain tepid at least till festive season.

The company, one of the latest entrants to the already cluttered general insurance space, closed FY20 with 39 per cent growth in assets under management (AUM) at Rs 1,560 crore on an underwriting loss of Rs 200 crore, and is on course to break even as losses have been "heading south consistently," its chief executive Roopam Asthana told PTI on Tuesday.

Liberty General Insurance, a joint venture between the US-based Liberty Mutual Insurance, Enam Securities, and Diamond Dealtrade, offers motor, health and personal accident covers apart from commercial, fire, engineering and marine insurance.

While 65 per cent of its business comes from motor insurance, health contributes 15-18 per cent and the rest comes from commercial insurance, which includes cyber security and liabilities cover.

The company has an overall market share of 1.5 per cent, with health insurance at 0.5 per cent and motor insurance at 1.5 per cent.

The industry as a whole saw motor business plunging 50 per cent in April and May with June seeing a tepid recovery as automobile sales are still down in the dumps with auto companies on an average reporting over 50 per cent fall in June sales year-on-year.

Liberty General Insurance also saw its motor insurance business diving over 50 per cent during the lockdown months.

"We''ve been consistently bringing down our underwriting loss and in FY20 we took just about Rs 200 crore in losses on an AUM of Rs 1,560 crore that grew 39 per cent over FY19. With such a run-rate, we are very close to the break even," Asthana said.

On overall business so far this year, he said, while the industry shrunk 7 per cent between January and May 2020, the company clipped 8 per cent growth, led by commercial and health insurance.

"Going forward, especially this year, we''ll be focusing on these two verticals."

Another boost came from fire insurance, which witnessed a growth of over 30 per cent during this period. The good show was due to the near doubling of branches from 60 in FY19 to 110 in FY20, he added.

While many SMEs didn''t renew their fire covers during lockdown, mid- and large-corporates renewed their policies on time, helping the business grow.

On commercial business, he said, "Cyber cover is nascent, while liabilities cover is picking up fast with more companies adopting stringent corporate governance norms, leading to many CEOs and directors taking cover. Today, the liabilities vertical fetches us 2-3 per cent of topline AUM which should go up considerably this year."

Asthana expects motor insurance business to trundle back to normalcy by festive season, helping the company close the year to March 2021 with 10-15 per cent overall growth as he sees lot of pent-up demand. PTI BEN RVK RVK

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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