Life insurers’ earning plunges

Although overall life insurance income plunged in the April-June period as fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, some firms have recorded double-digit growth in business during the period compared with the first quarter of the year.

The gross premium earnings that include the first year and renewal incomes of all 33 life insurers dropped by over 23 per cent to Tk 13.9 billion in April-June-2020 period over January-March-2020 period, according to an official document.

Revenues of 20 life firms, including MetLife, Jiban Bima Corporation and LIC, nosedived during the second quarter.

Yet, 13 life firms, including a few big ones, expanded their business amid the pandemic.

However JBC premium income dropped by nearly 50 per cent to Tk 770 million in the period.

Income of MetLife, the market leader by sales, dropped nearly 35 per cent to Tk4.98 billion in the period (April-June-2020).

Business of Sandhani Life dropped by 50 per cent, Pragati Life by 53 per cent, Progressive Life by 60 per cent, Popular Life by 70 per cent and Mumbai-based LIC by 5.0 per cent, an IDRA document said.

Conversely, Delta Life, National Life Insurance, Meghna Life Insurance, Sunlife Insurance, Prime Islami Life, Golden Life, Trust Islami Life, Alpha Islami, Diamond Life, Zenith Life and Best Life reported double-digit growth.

Only National Life Insurance, whose CEO succumbed to Covid-19, expanded business by nearly 178 per cent to Tk.1.6 billion in Q2 over Q1 of the year.

Meghna Life grew to Tk. 648 million in Q2 over Tk 284 million in Q1.

Prime Islami Life premium earnings expanded by 87 per cent, Delta Life grew by 29 per cent, Sunlife by 120 per cent, Alpha life 30 per cent, Zenith Life by 19 per cent and Best Life by 18 per cent.

Managing directors and CEOs of the life firms said the increase is largely due to the use of digital platforms.

They also said the fear of deaths and greater awareness of financial risks associated with the mortality also helped spur business growth.

Some said life insurance has enjoyed something of a “renaissance” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Consumers, especially elderly people had bought insurance in higher numbers in the period when thousands of people got ill and died from Covid-19.

They said the boom in sales is logical in the sense that it works as a financial backstop in the event of death.

Some, however, attributed it to “panic buying.”

Kazimuddin, acting CEO at the National Life Insurance, told the FE that digital platforms had worked fantastically.

He said: “Zoom was a blessing to us to contact the development officers and clients.”

He said his firm had settled all claims during the period that lured many to buy policies again.

“Even, I had visited remote areas during the pandemic and handed over the cheques to the clients. I think this has encouraged many to purchase another policy after maturity.”

He said they even settled the old dues of the development officers during the period. “As a result, we even got huge renewal earnings along with new policy sales,” he added.

NC Rudra, CEO and managing director at Meghna Life Insurance, said that they had worked hard as they predicted dramatic changes in business landscape.

“We did not sit idle during the lockdown. We pushed the development officers to sell more and more policies.”

He said they have electronic fund transfer across the country.

“To my mind, quick claim settlements to the clients by visiting their homes have contributed to the surge in business,” he added.


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