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Budget News

  • ICICI Prudential Life confident to cross FY23 VNB target by March
  • January 18,2023  22:10

  • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance said it is “very confident of doubling VNB target by March, citing a record increase in its high-margin protection business share and the highest margin it has booked in the December quarter as a result.

    In the first nine months of this fiscal, the value of new business (VNB) of the company grew by 23.2 percent from Rs 1,388 crore to Rs 1,710 crore. In FY19, the company had set a target to grow at 22.5 percent annually to double its VNB to Rs 2,650 crore from Rs 1,325 crore then.

    The management's hope of beating the target by a higher margin arises from the traditionally busy March quarter, when people typically buy insurance to save tax.

    On Tuesday, the ICICI group firm, which leads the private sector in terms of the sum assured at Rs 6.9 lakh crore in payback commitments to policyholders, reported a 29 percent decline in net profit at Rs 221 crore for the December quarter due to across board spike in cost, whittling down the highest-ever margin of 33.9 percent in Q3 since inception 22 years ago, and helping it average the nine months margins at 32 percent.

    It is the second-largest private player in terms of VNB.

    During the quarter, its net premium income rose to Rs 9,465 crore from Rs 9,074 crore and assets under management rose to a record Rs 2.52 lakh crore -- the second highest among private life insurers.

    I am very confident of doubling the VNB by March as planned in FY19 when we had said we'd double it in four years. Given that we've already grown by 23.2 percent so far this fiscal, it's very possible to even cross the target of Rs 2,650 crore in VNB by the end of this fiscal, its managing director and chief executive NS Kannan said in a press release on Wednesday.

    This is a more-than-expected growth rate -- as we needed only a 22.5 percent growth rate to maintain this fiscal to achieve the target -- places us in a very comfortable position to cross the target, he added.

    Kannan explained that this higher growth has been achieved on the back of exceptionally high margins from protection products, which now brings them 20 percent of the business.

    The protection products brought us 32 percent VNB margin in the third quarter, making it the highest product from a margin perspective, Kannan said.

    He is also confident that the share of protection products going up to 25 percent of the total business going forward with a caveat that such growth depends on how the markets perform -- in case of a bull-run, Ulip products will fare better and in case of a bad market, protection policies should shine more as the share of Ulips would likely fall in a range of 35-50 percent.

    Now the company has a healthy product mix with Ulips chipping in 40 percent of the business, followed by non-Ulips savings products chipping in with 30 percent and protection fetching in 20 percent and the annuity and group products getting in the remaining 10 percent, its chief financial officer Satyan Jambunathan said.

    Back in FY19, when the company had set the target of doubling the VNB, the product mix was 80:20 -- wherein 80 percent of the business was concentrated in Ulips and the remaining in all other verticals, and the rise of protection and non-Ulips helped the company book higher margins. In FY19, the average margin was 17 percent, which rose to 32 percent now, Jambunathan said.

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