MUMBAI: The number of life insurance policies sold in India fell in 2016-17 from the previous year but the total cover increased 14% in value, indicating that the domestic industry is maturing to being seen as a protection instrument from being just a tax saver.
The total number of policies sold during the year fell to 264.56 lakh from 267.38 lakh a year ago while the total cover increased to Rs 4,18,476.62 crore from Rs 3,66,943.23 crore, according to the latest annual report issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.
A total of 264.65 lakh new life insurance policies were issued during the year, with the Life Insurance Corporation accounting for 201.32 lakh policies. The state-run corporation's share fell 2.02 percentage points over the previous year to 76.1%.
Private sector life insurers issued 63.24 lakh or 23.9% of total new policies issued, with their share increasing 2.13 percentage points over the previous year "The contribution of protection was abysmally low in the last decade," said Birla Sun Life Insurance managing director Pankaj Razdan. "Despite strong growth in premium, the protection gap has remained very high. With focus, scale and better life expectancy assumptions owing to improving healthcare, mortality charges are down 30-50%."