Riding on the growing Indian diaspora, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) — India’s top life insurer — has emerged as the market leader in Bahrain, part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), despite tough competition from close to 60 global insurance companies. It has also emerged as the third largest player in the UAE with a strong presence in cities like Dubai.
LIC’s Bahrain operations occupy the top position in the overall international operations of the corporation. In terms of new business, it contributes over 80 per cent of the total share. India’s top life insurer operates in five GCC countries — Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. “LIC has 43 per cent market share in premium income and 89 per cent in policies in Bahrain. The customer base in the countries we are operating in the region mainly comprises of non-resident Indians, though we do sell to the local nationals wherever we are licensed to sell,” said Rajesh Kandwal, CEO & Managing Director, LIC International, Bahrain.
“Despite the intense competition, we are the market leader in Bahrain. Brand LIC has a very strong connect with the NRIs and quite accepted in the region thereby making NRI segment as a ‘niche’ market for us. There are around 60 insurance companies operating in the GCC countries,’’ Kandwal told The Indian Express.
Besides Bahrain, LIC has overseas operations in 13 countries, including Fiji, Mauritius, the UK, Singapore, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Saudi Arabia. The major contributing factors for high performance are attractive products, high trust level of the brand and success of bancassurance in the UAE, Kandwal said.
The firm has been doing very well in terms of new business during the year. “We have already achieved total first premium income target of $ 200 million as at June 2015 and we shall surpass our target in first premium income by a good margin at the end of the year. The year so far has been quite encouraging. In terms of number of policies, we are growing at the rate of over 12 per cent and in non single premium, the growth rate is over 36 per cent which is satisfactory,’’ Kandwal said.
The bancassurance partners play a significant role in selling to the other nationals, particularly locals.
“We distribute our products through tied channels, banks, brokers and corporate agents. BBK and SBI (in Bahrain), FGB, Emirates NBD, ADCB and RAK Bank (UAE) and Doha Bank (Qatar) are our major bancassurance partners. We signed an agreement with prominent a broker recently. In order to deepen our bancassurance relationship, co-branded credit card with our bancassurance partner First Gulf Bank (FGB) was launched,” he said.