New Delhi: Leading private life insurer Bharti AXA Life Insurance is exploring multiple alliance opportunities with banks to further boost its bancassurance channel and achieve long-term growth ambitions.
The insurer struck its first major bancassurance pact with Karnataka Bank this fiscal for distribution of its products. Before the bancassurance partnership pact with Karnataka Bank in April last year, the company relied mainly on an agency model and direct business.
"Apart from focusing on building our agency and direct business, we are also keen to strengthen the bancassurance channel as we see it as a key distribution and growth opportunity. We are exploring multiple bancassurance options to achieve our long-term growth aspirations and increase India's insurance penetration,' said Vikas Seth, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bharti AXA Life Insurance.
Bancassurance refers to a model where insurers tie up with banks for selling their products among bank customers.
Besides its partnership with Karnataka Bank, some co-operative banks and regional rural banks, the company has also forged an alliance with Airtel Payments Bank to offer Bharti AXA Life 'POS Saral Jeevan Bima Yojana' through the latter's banking points across India.
Bharti AXA and Airtel Payments Bank have also announced a first-of-its-kind alliance to offer the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana', a government-backed life insurance scheme aimed at increasing the penetration of life cover among the underinsured masses and contributing to financial inclusion in the country.
Bharti AXA Life, a partnership between Bharti Enterprises and French insurance giant AXA, has registered 20 per cent growth in its renewal premium income to Rs 541 crore in the first half of fiscal 2019-20, against Rs 453 crore in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.
Its new business premium income grew to Rs 415 crore in the half-year ended September 30, 2019, as compared to Rs 398 crore in the same period during 2018-19. Total premium rose 12 per cent to Rs 956 crore in the first six months of the current fiscal, from Rs 851 crore in the first half of the last financial year.
The company recorded a surge of 30 per cent growth in its assets under management to Rs 6,404 crore as on September 2019, against Rs 4,928 crore on September 30, 2018.
"We maintained growth momentum across key metrics of the business in the first half year of this financial year. Our customers have also reaffirmed their faith in us which is reflected in the significant growth in renewal premium income.
"We aim at enhancing our agency force and agent productivity and strengthening bancassurance through strategic alliances to achieve stronger growth by the end of this fiscal," Seth said in a statement.
The company plans to expand its distribution footprint across the country in the current fiscal. Currently, it has 236 branches pan-India.
It recruited 7,167 agents in the half-year ended September to take advisor count to 41,722, up 9 per cent over 34,555 advisors during the April-September period of 2018-19.
"Improving our year-on-year persistency and overall renewals will remain one of the core focus areas for this financial year. Automation is another key area for us as we want to make our processes and systems more robust and scalable," Seth added.