Life insurance companies report over 100% growth in May 2022


Life insurance companies reported high growth in annual premium equivalent (APE) during May 2022. This was primarily on account of low base figures for the month of May 2021 that was affected by a severe Covid strain. Over a longer time frame of 3 years, the APE for life insurance seems to be showing an annualised growth of about 13 per cent.

Report by Kotak Institutional Equities on Life Insurance

Life insurance companies reported high (101%) growth in annual premium equivalent (APE) during May 2022, on a low base (May 2021) that was affected by a severe Covid-19 strain.


The preceding period (May 2020) was also affected by lockdowns, making the comparison difficult.

On a three-year CAGR basis, private players reported 13% APE growth.

On a relative basis, HDFC Life and Max Life gained market share m-o-m, although down yoy.

ICICI Life was weak. Reversing the trend in 4QFY22, top four players have delivered faster growth than the rest of the private sector.

Private sector life players reported massive 101% growth in APE in May 2022 with 96% growth in individual business. Overall APE (private and public sector) was up 85%.

A severe Covid wave hit the sector hard in May 2021, leading to 5% growth during this base period.

However, even this (yoy growth in May 2021) was tempered by the lockdown in May 2020; private sector reported 15% two-year CAGR decline in May 2021.

If we look at three-year CAGR, i.e. May 2019-22, private sector reported 13% APE CAGR and 12% individual APE CAGR – such a long period may, however, have less relevance. We expect the base to normalize from 2QFY22.

On a yoy basis, SBI Life (on low base) reported 194% APE growth in individual segment, lifting growth for the sector. Excluding SBI Life, private sector was up 77% versus 96% including SBI Life. Max Life was up 73%, marginally lower than private sector ex-SBI growth. HDFC Life was up 52% while ICICI Life was weak at 36% growth.

On a m-o-m basis, the private sector lost 200 bps market share to 61% in individual APE.

HDFC Life gained share to 9.5% from 8.9% in April (9-10% over the past few months).

Max Life gained share to 5.4% from 4.8% in April 2022; the company had 6-7% market share in the past, which declined to about 5-6% in a couple of months last year. It appears that its share in Axis Bank is stabilizing.

Even as SBI Life gained share on a yoy basis, mom share was down marginally to 14.5% from 15.6%; the company has gained market share to 14.7% in FY2022 from nearly 13% in the preceding two years.

ICICI Life remains the weakest likely due to lack of support from ICICI Bank; the company lost market share to 5.8% from 7.3% in April; the company has lost about 400 bps market share over the past four years to nearly 7% in FY2022.

Trends in 2HFY22, particularly 4QFY22, suggested that private companies beyond the top four listed players gained significant market share likely due to new banking partnerships/activation of existing partnerships and diversification of product profile. These players reported 78% growth in individual APE in May 2022, similar to ex-SBI industry growth in May 2022. Bajaj Life continues to remain strong with 133% growth and Tata AIA was up 131%. While Canara, IndiaFirst, Star Union, etc. were strong (100%+ growth), Aditya Birla SL was lower at 67% growth.

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