Life Insurance Corporation’s Gulf arm tops overseas chart, chips in with 80% income

Mumbai: Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has had a good run in the Gulf countries with its Bahrain-based arm LIC International that manages the GCC markets becoming the best among its eight international subsidiaries in terms of new business premium collection in 2015.

The Bahrain-headquartered Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) International is present in five Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. This subsidiary has contributed over 80 per cent of the Corporation’s total overseas business in terms of new business in 2015. The Corporation also has eight overseas subsidiaries Britain, Fiji, Mauritius, Bahrain, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Saudi Arabia.

“New business premium of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) International grew by a whopping 197 per cent at USD 121 million in 2015,” chief executive and managing director of LIC International Rajesh Kandwal told PTI.

“We sold 13,120 policies in 2015, which is a growth of over 16 per cent over previous year. In terms of the number of policies, we enjoy over 88 per cent of market share in Bahrain in 2014,” he added. The company has five branches across the GCC markets which as around 60 life insurers present. Kandwal said the major contributing factors for this stellar performance were attractive products, high trust level of brand LIC and the success of bancassurance in the UAE.

Brand Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has a very strong connect with NRIs and is well accepted in the region thereby making NRI segment as a ‘niche’ market for us. In spite of competition, we are market leader in Bahrain,” Kandwal said. Though we mainly target the non-resident Indians, we also go beyond them. Our bancassurance partners play a significant role in selling to the other nationals, particularly locals,” he said, adding at the end of 2015, the company achieved its target on all the counts including policies and new premium.

First premium income grew by over 44 per cent whereas new policies rose by over 16 per cent during the year. As regards repatriation of profit to the parent, annual dividend declared is paid to the shareholders including LIC. Out of total amount invested by LIC, the return on such investment by dividend payout is over 27 per cent, he said.

Going forward, he said the company is not focusing on expansion plans and would prefer to consolidate and tap the potential in the existing markets. Kandwal said overall insurance penetration in the GCC is expected to improve from 1.1 per cent in 2012 to 2.2 per cent in 2017. Bahrain has the highest insurance penetration of 2.1 per cent.