Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Ltd (BALIC), a leading private life insurer, aims to add atleast 50,000 agents (on net basis) this fiscal as part of its overall efforts to ramp up its distribution network, Tarun Chugh, Managing Director and CEO, has said.

So far between April-October 2023, the company has hired 32,000 plus agents. As of end September 2023, the agency force stood at about 1.3 lakh.

“All our distribution channels —agency, bancassurance and online are showing robust growth. We will keep them invigorated with planned new product launches”, Chugh told businessline in an interview.

In third quarter, there will be a new product launch and one more in the fourth quarter, He however declined to elaborate on the segments that would be targeted.

Chugh also said that the life insurer was keen to further expand its bancassurance tie-ups in the remaining months of this fiscal and is in talks with various banks. In the last six months BALIC has partnered with AU Small Finance Bank, South Indian Bank and IndusInd Bank for securing term loans and working capital loans.

As of end October 2023, BALIC, which was the fastest growing private life insurer in October 2023, has about 30 banca tie-ups.

Chugh expressed confidence of maintaining the current growth momentum (about 24 per cent in April-October 2023) in weighted individual new business premium in the second half of this fiscal. “For the entire fiscal, we are confident of growing at atleast twice the industry growth levels”, he added.

Tax regime change

Chugh did admit that this year’s budget move to change the taxation regime on policies involving premiums in excess of ₹5 lakhs has impacted business in the first half this fiscal. He however, felt that this would be offset by the slew of new product rollouts that the company has embarked upon this fiscal.

“We are innovating on new products and looking to roll out several in newer areas (like Diabetes-related product). We are also looking to accelerate our banca  play. All this we hope will help tide over the impact of tax change on ₹ 5 lakh plus policies”, he said.

Chugh noted that maintaining growth momentum of last fiscal (when BALIC grew weighted individual new business premium of 41 percent) would be tough ask and there would be base effect that would play out. However life insurance industry is showing robust growth despite tax hurdles. 

Fourth quarter is crucial period for the life insurance industry with as much as 40 per cent of annual business (including for BALIC) coming in that period. The life insurance industry is expected to face a drag in the fourth quarter due to the budget move to change the tax regime for above ₹ 5 lakh policies.

Branch network 

Chugh said that BALIC plans to add about 80 new branches this fiscal, with most of them coming up in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. “We will reach atleast 50 new cities”, he noted.

Already in the first half this fiscal, nearly twenty new branches have been set up. The overall branch network for BALIC at the beginning of fiscal stood at little over 500 branches. 

Chugh said that BALIC is now using analytics to decide on the areas/cities where new branches should be located.

BALIC’s individual rated new business (IRNB) for April-October stood at ₹2,884 crore, up 24 per cent on a year on year basis. For the month of October 2023, IRNB stood at ₹444 crores, up 27 per cent over October 2022.