Mumbai: Dalal Street-bound Life Insurance Corp of India recently did a hard sell to institutional investors from across the globe positioning itself as the nimble giant growing fastest even while private sector insurers chart their growth paths.
LIC showcased that even after two decades of private players in the industry, it still has nearly 65% of new policies and is the only one that could capitalize on the opportunities in rural Bharat, with 71% market share while its nearest rival a and the biggest listed entity HDFC Life has just 4%.
While competition has been intensifying in the insurance industry with private sector players getting aggressive in selling new products, the state-run behemoth pointed out that when it comes to insurance, it is the renewal of policies that matter more than anything else.
LIC said it is still the largest when it comes to renewal premium, said one of the persons aware of the presentation. It still seems to be having more than 63% market share in this segment.
The government plans to sell a minority stake in the state-run insurer before the end of the current fiscal year. While there has been no timeline yet on the filing of the IPO offer document or the pricing, the government is keen on it as its other plans for stake sales have hit a roadblock.
"People asked us this question when the industry opened up in 2004-05 and we said we will be able to compete in the market as well as anyone else," LIC chairman M.R. Kumar told ET in an interview last month.
“We are also stepping up digital marketing and bancassurance. Over the years, the loss of market share is only a result of other people growing and not about us not growing.”
While insurance penetration in India has been low, the urban areas have been oversold with many buying more than four or five policies per individual, but the rural areas have not been served. LIC showcased that with its more than 1.35 million agents, it is best positioned to capture the rural growth as income grows and that also necessitates the need for more savings as well as protection instruments.
LIC dominates rural India with a 71% market share, followed by SBI Life at 7% and HDFC Life’s 3%, data from the insurance regulator showed. The newer companies are relying on digital mode to expand their reach.
But LIC is confident that insurance being a ‘push product’ needs agents to explain the products where it would have an inherent advantage.