Money & Banking

IndiaFirst Life hopes to break even by 2019-20

K R Srivats New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 06, 2017

RM Vishakha, Managing Director & CEO, IFLI

Open to inorganic growth if there is a right fit, says MD

IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company (IFLI), which will complete eight years of operations this November, expects to break even in 2019-20, a top company official said.

The life insurer, which recorded profits in the last three years, is aiming at a net profit of ₹50 crore this fiscal, RM Vishakha, Managing Director & CEO, IFLI, told BusinessLine.

In the previous fiscal (2016-17), the company had reported a net profit of ₹35 crore.

Vishakha, who has been at the helm of IFLI since March 2015, also expects the company to maintain its status as the fastest-growing life insurer in terms of retail new business premium growth.

“Last fiscal, we were the fastest-growing life insurer in terms of retail new business premium. This year so far we have been the fastest. I expect to maintain this for the current entire fiscal as well,” she said without giving out any specific numbers.

Efforts would continue to outpace the industry growth, she noted.

Top 10 league

Vishakha also said that IFLI, over the next few years, would look to break into the top 10 league of the industry vis-a-vis retail new business premium. Currently, IFLI is ranked 12th, she added.

IFLI is a three-way joint venture between Bank of Baroda (44 per cent), Andhra Bank (30 per cent) and UK’s financial and investment company Legal & General (26 per cent).

There are no moves as on date on the part of the foreign joint venture partner to enhance its shareholding in IFLI, Vishakha said.

Both Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank are also not looking to dilute their holdings or completely exit the venture, it is learnt. IFLI is currently capitalised at ₹625 crore.

“I have conveyed to my principal shareholders that this is not the right time time to sell,” she said. IFLI is also not looking to raise fresh capital this fiscal to fund business growth.

Acquisitions

Vishakha also said that IFLI was open to inorganic growth. “We would love to acquire if there is a right fit,” she said. With the Centre contemplating consolidation among banks, an opportunity may arise of IFLI gobbling up the insurance venture of any other bank that may be acquired by Bank of Baroda, she added.

Vishakha ruled out any immediate listing plans for the life insurer. “We need to build scale and more profits before we can contemplate listing,” she added.

Bancassurance

Vishakha also said that IFLI would focus energies on fully utilising the potential of selling life insurance to the customers of Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank.

“Both these banks have in aggregate 10 crore customers. We have been able to till date tap only 0.5 per cent. There is so much scope that we need not look elsewhere,” she said.

Currently, bancassurance is the dominant channel bringing 90 per cent of the total retail business.

“If I don’t make the most of available distribution channel (bancassurance), then it is a bad business strategy,” Vishakha said.

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Published on October 06, 2017
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