The privately held life insurance industry in India lost 23,500 individual agents in the financial year ended 31 March 2018 (FY2018), primarily due to their inability to meet targets. The insurers had 957,341 agents at 1 April 2017 that fell to 933,857 by 31 March 2018, reports Moneycontrol citing data from
the Life Insurance Council.
The country’s largest insurer, the state owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), on the other hand, added almost 18,000 agents to its system. As a result, the overall number of individual agents dipped marginally. LIC itself has over a million agents.
For the industry as a whole, individual agents are the biggest source of distribution of insurance policies. Almost 55% of life policies sold are sourced through agents. This is closely followed by bancassurance.
Among the private sector life insurers, Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance is the only player that doesn’t have any agents. They sell purely through bank branches of Canara Bank, HSBC and Oriental Bank of Commerce.
Another insurer, Aegon Life Insurance, which has decided to go fully digital, did not add any new agents in the last financial year.
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance had the highest number of agents among private players. The number stood at 151,563 at end of March 2018, showing an 11% jump yoy.