While base effect dented the performance, strength in non-par savings and term products have sustained, according to Jefferies. The base effect will turn favourable, particularly in the business-heavy fourth quarter, the research firm said. “Some moderation in growth for term life is likely, while guaranteed return products will sustain traction, owing to a steep yield curve.” Insurers, it said, have started to indicate improvement in credit-protect plans on better disbursals and weakness in ULIPs is abating.
According to Yes Securities, with strong equity markets, ULIPs should make a comeback and lower interest rates would drive demand for guaranteed return products such as annuities. “Protection business growth may ease in the near term, and over the longer term, we expect strong growth given low penetration. We expect APE growth to pickup,” Prayesh Jain, research analyst at the brokerage, told BloombergQuint.
How Private Insurers Fared
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co. outperformed listed peers with 20% year-on-year rise in premiums, aided by non-linked savings products, both par and annuities, and growth in retail and credit-protect plans.
Max Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of the listed Max Financial Services Ltd., was other private insurer that saw a growth in premiums during the reported month.
Higher sales through bancassurance or banking partners, the biggest distribution channel for life insurers, also helped as business returned to normal.
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. and SBI Life Insurance Co. saw a decline in their APEs over the year earlier in November.
According to Jefferies, ICICI Prudential Life continued to see muted growth because of its dependence on high-ticket ULIPs, impact from a lagged adjustment in term pricing by peers, and a lower focus on savings-business by bancassurance partner.