) Leading non-life insurer Bharti AXA General Insurance has recorded a whopping 46 per cent growth in its gross written premium at Rs 1,586 crore in the first half of financial year 2019-20 against Rs 1,087 crore in the corresponding fiscal period a year ago.

The company said all product segments saw robust growth, led by commercial lines, motor, crop and health insurance, and added that its focus on segments like SME & MSME yielded a 79 per cent growth in the commercial lines segment. Its continued focus on building partnerships with motor insurance service providers through brokers and direct relationships helped enhance market share in both these segments.

Motor, health and travel steered the growth for retail channel which registered 38 per cent increase in revenue in the April-September period this financial year over the same period in the last financial year.

“The healthy double-digit growth in the first half of this fiscal across all product lines and channels, has been achieved by enhancing distribution bandwidth, forging strategic business alliances and diversifying product lines and channels. We expect to grow better than industry in the second half of 2019-20 as well,” said Sanjeev Srinivasan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bharti AXA General Insurance.

Increasing distribution network, new partnerships along with prudent product pricing have been key drivers for the company’s growth in both retail and corporate business, he added.

Alongside, investment provisions have also been undertaken on prudent basis with respect to diminution in the value of Secured Non-Convertible Debentures. This has resulted in increased combined ratio of 122 per cent in the April-September period of 2019-20.

However, the company is poised to improve these numbers by making concerted efforts towards better expense management and profitable growth.

In the first half of 2019-20, the country witnessed multiple catastrophic events. Cyclones such as Fani, Maha, Bulbul, extensive floods in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar and several other states put customers through distress. While these tragedies increased the number of claims, Bharti AXA General Insurance was in the forefront to manage each calamity and ensure that the customers received speedy and fair claim settlement, with more than 70 per cent claims being settled within the first 10 days of claim intimation.

To support multiple large bank partnerships, the company has made significant investments in people, technology, expansion of branch network and other capabilities which will help enrich and strengthen the processes, deliveries and customer experience through these partnerships.

Bharti AXA General Insurance, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and French insurance major AXA, has further boosted its bancassurance portfolio by forging alliance with AXIS Bank and South Indian Bank recently.

Besides, it also sells its products through leading banks such as HDFC, Standard Chartered, HSBC, DBS, Airtel Payments Bank and American Express.

“We are confident that the focus on multiple bancassurance partnerships, emerging markets, segment diversification, digitization, better expense management, and customer-centricity will help the company yield stronger growth and a profitable performance across all key metrics of the business by the end of this financial year,” Srinivasan added.