Mumbai: ICICI Prudential Life Insurance expects to end the current fiscal with negative growth but with better growth prospects likely next year, hopes to achieve break-even in about two-years, a top company official said.
“The (life insurance) industry has seen a 15-20% negative growth for the year. We hope to do better than the industry, but are likely to see a negative growth for this year,” ICICI Prudential Life Insurance’s Managing Director, Shikha Sharma, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here today.
However, the next fiscal (FY 10) is likely to bring in a “lower, but positive single-digit growth” for the life insurance industry, Sharma said.
“Given a three-five-year outlook, we continue to be very bullish about the sector and I think it has the potential to grow around 20%. Our (ICICI Prudential’s) belief is that break-even will come in about two years,” Sharma said.
Growth in FY 10, however, would remain low and in single-digit but it would be positive, the insurance major’s chief said.
”This year (FY 09) has been challenging for the (life insurance) industry. This is the first year that the industry has seen a negative growth over the previous year, because of the multiple shocks in the global environment. Much of the pain in the life industry has taken place this year,“ Sharma said.
According to her, customers were confused about where to invest. But the need for protection is very much there and “savings will come back”, she said.
The company’s total premium income for the year grew 35%, Sharma said.
ICICI Prudential has been proactive in responding to the evolving market conditions.
To combat the global economic downturn, the company has done a lot of retraining (of its personnel), she said, adding “some product changes need to be done again to cope with different market situations”.
On her hiring plans, Sharma said that “we always keep hiring people to back-fill our attrition, but we will be managing (our) headcount.” She, however, refused to comment on the company’s attrition rate.