India’s benchmark Nifty 50 has risen 6.51% so far this year as of Thursday’s close, after losing 9.07% in the first half of the calendar year.
“We are hoping that profits from the equity portfolio would be the same as last year, depending on market conditions,” Mangalam Ramasubramanian Kumar said.
“While we are long-term investors and also contrarian in nature, we are not averse to booking profits,” Kumar said.
LIC is aiming to increase its share of premium or participating policies to 15% in two years from about 9% currently, Kumar said.
“We are looking forward to increasing this to 25% over a 4 to 5 year period,” he said.
Non-participating or ‘non-par’ policies have fixed returns and do not require an insurer to share profits with policyholders.
LIC traditionally targets participating business as opposed to private competitors who have been undertaking more high-margin non-par business.
India’s largest insurer listed in May following a record $2.7 billion share sale, but the stock is now trading over 34% lower than its issue price.
LIC’s management is trying to revive value for shareholders, and recently transferred funds from its non-par fund to its shareholders fund.
“The change in product mix is a clear indicator of our efforts in maintaining our market leadership position. We hope that sooner or later the markets will value our efforts that are making the results that are visible,” Kumar said.
The insurer is banking on its strong agent network to sell both participating and non-participating policies, Kumar said, and is looking to hire more agents and increase the average number of policies sold per agent by 12%-18%.
($1 = 81.6430 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Nikunj Ohri; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
By Nikunj Ohri and Nupur Anand