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ICICI Lombard net jumps 24 pc despite market losses
ICICI Lombard reported a 23.8 per cent jump in net profit in the March quarter at Rs 282 crore on lower motor claims even as it suffered losses in stock markets which plunged 30 per cent in the quarter.
The bottomline was helped by the company exiting the cash-burning crop insurance this year after heavy losses in the previous fiscal and lower motor claims as vehicles remained off the roads following the nationwide Covid-pandemic-induced lockdown in the last month of the quarter, the company said.
But its claims from the travel side due to cancellations rose in the quarter following the pandemic disruptions.
For the full year to March, net income grew by 13.8 per cent to Rs 1,194 crore despite an 8.1 per cent decline in the gross direct premium income to Rs 13,313 crore, as the company has exited the crop segment.
Excluding the crop segment, the gross direct premium income rose to Rs 13,302 crore in FY20, registering a growth of 10.5 per cent and is in line with the industry growth excluding crop segment, the company's chief executive Bhargav Dasgupta told reporters in a post-earnings concall on Saturday.
The gross direct premium income in the March quarter declined to Rs 3,181 crore from Rs 3,485 crore, due to the exit of the crop business excluding which, the number increased to Rs 3,244 crore, up 2.9 per cent from the year-ago period, below the 4.3 per cent industry growth (excluding crop segment).
The combined ratio, which is the key profitability gauge rose to 100.4 in FY20 from 98.8 in FY19, primarily due to the long-term motor policies, change in product-mix and losses from catastrophic events. The combined ratio in the last quarter rose to 100.1 from 99.
Chief financial officer Gopal Balachandran told PTI in a concall that the company has taken a loss of Rs 120 crore from its investment in the year as the market plunged over 30 per cent in March alone.
He said however since the company invests more on debt instruments, on a mark to market basis it is still on the green.
The company's investment book is around Rs 16,300 crore, mostly into debt, said Dasgupta and ruled out capital raising during the year even though its solvency ratio has come down to 2.17x in the year from 2.5x. The regulatory requirement of solvency ratio is 1.5x.
Dasgupta said the company expects higher sales and also claims from the Covid pandemic side by refused to share details.
The company had launched a 100 per cent benefit product specially designed for COVID-19 and he said it has been getting a good response. But her was quick to add that this was not aimed at bottomline but as a social commitment.
Dasgupta said the first quarter can be written off as no one knows how the pandemic will pan out and feared losses on travel, health and auto due to the same.