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Leading private non-life insurer Bharti AXA General Insurance has recorded a net profit of Rs 95 crore in the first half of the financial year 2020-21 against the loss of Rs 90 crore in the corresponding fiscal period a year earlier.
Even in the Covid crisis and the subsequent challenging times, the company managed to improve productivity in most business lines and channels and achieve high double-digit growth in health and personal accident segment, commercial lines, and crop insurance in the first half of this fiscal.
It reported the gross written premium of Rs 1,574 crore in the first half of the current financial year 2020-21 against Rs 1,586 crore in the corresponding period of the last fiscal. The moderate drop in the premium income was owing to the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in flat growth in line with the non-life insurance industry, the company said in a statement today.
“As the headwinds followed the Covid-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and restrictions, we shifted our focus towards ensuring that customers’ plight is better managed in these trying times. The judicious investment made formerly in tech solutions across all touch-points reaped immense benefits in this period and helped us respond with the required agility. Further, efforts were made towards ramping up the adoption of self-service options, building pro-active connect with customers especially in cases of adjudication of claims remotely and reimbursement claims. The quick adaptation to the new normal, driven by digital realities and changed customer needs helped build a better customer connect and strong performance during this period. With the economic and business activities picking up post-lockdown, we are confident of witnessing a positive shift from the current challenging scenario as part of our long-term growth strategy,” said Sanjeev Srinivasan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bharti AXA General Insurance.
The health and personal accident segment saw a significant 47 per cent growth at Rs 226 crore in the first half of the current financial year as compared to Rs 153 crore in the same period of 2019-20.
“The expected outcome of the Covid-19 crisis is the behavioural change of people towards health insurance, as they realized the benefits of adequate protection and health coverage. This helped us serve the customers with our comprehensive health insurance plans and boost this segment,” said Srinivasan.
The company recorded strong double-digit growth in both commercial lines and crop insurance segments. While the company continued focusing on large corporates, it further strengthened its commitment towards SME and MSME segments which helped post 28 per cent growth at Rs 299 crore in the commercial lines segment during the April-September period of this fiscal against Rs 234 crore in the corresponding period a year earlier.
Crop insurance yielded 18 per cent growth to Rs 551 crore in the first half of 2020-21 from Rs 467 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal.
Motor and travel insurance segments were more impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Motor insurance de-grew by 26 per cent to Rs 495 crore in the first six months of this fiscal from Rs 669 crore in the same period a year ago. “There has been an evident dip in vehicle insurance mainly because of the drop in sales of new vehicles during this period. The automobile sales performance due to the ongoing pandemic directly affected the prospects of motor insurance,” said Srinivasan.
The combined ratio, a measure of profitability that takes into account claims and expenses as a proportion of premiums, stood at 111.5 per cent during the April-September 2020-21 against 122.1 per cent in the corresponding period of 2019-20.
“With the economy gradually opening up and showing signs of a return to growth after a couple of Covid-disrupted quarters, we expect to see growth prospects across all key metrics of the business on the back of our multiple bancassurance partnerships, strong digitization across all business lines and channels, better expense management, and customer-centricity by the end of the financial year 2020-21. We will continue to remain focused on claims management while working closely with our partners to render the best levels of service in times to come,” he added.
Bharti AXA General, which posted a maiden profit of Rs 3 crore for the financial year ended March 2019, is all set to be merged with ICICI Lombard. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has approved in-principle acquisition of General Insurance business of Bharti AXA by ICICI Lombard General Insurance. Earlier, the Competition Commission of India, BSE and NSE already approved the proposed acquisition.