Fairfax-promoted Digit Insurance is confident of taking its premia sales to over Rs 6,500 crore when it completes five years of operations in the next October, a top official of the Bengaluru-based general insurer has said.
The digital-only insurer had sold the first policy in October 2017 and has since then sold to over 20 million customers. It achieved break-even in the third year and entered the unicorn club in less than four years and is now valued at over USD 3.5 billion.
Its founder Chairman Kamesh Goyal said higher sales growth optimism comes from the near-total normalcy to the pre-pandemic level and the likely ebbing of the chip shortage, which is hitting the automobile industry, over the next few months, helping the industry claw back the lost motor premia sales.
He added that the first half sales have already crossed Rs 2,200 crore.
While the industry grew 16-17 per cent in the first half, Digit has grown over 67 per cent to Rs 2,196 crore, driven primarily by the health segment, Goyal said.
In the whole of last fiscal, it had just Rs 3,243 crore of sales, he added.
he industry is expecting to end the current fiscal clocking 22-25 per cent growth over last fiscal, which should mean the industry is back to pre-pandemic levels.
"Going by the company's faster growth rate so far at close to Rs 2,200 crore in premia sales in the first half of FY22, we will easily cross the FY21's Rs 3,243 crore with a minor profit which was crimped by the pandemic claims," Goyal said.
He added that given a high base, "I hope to scale past Rs 6,500 crore with premia sales by the time we enter the sixth year of operation next October".
In FY21, the company grew 44 per cent to Rs 3,243 crore as against industry growth of five per cent to Rs 2 lakh crore, and earned a profit of Rs 123 crore for the year, down from Rs 175 crore due to the higher pandemic claims.
In the first quarter of FY22, its gross written premia grew over 70 per cent as against 17 per cent for the industry.
Goyal expects to cross the two per cent market share by then, from the current 1.68 per cent of the over Rs 2.2 lakh crore as of June 2021. Its key profitability metric of combined ratio stood at 113.3 per cent as of the June quarter. In the market share sweepstake, Digit has 2.89 per cent of motor insurance, 0.32 per cent of health insurance.
He expects growth to be driven by motor and health, which has already crossed the Rs 300-crore mark in the first of the year with a claims ratio of 75-76 per cent, even though the industry is both challenging as well as exciting with intense competition.
Goyal said the business mix of Digit is led by 'motor; that stood at Rs 2,433 crore of the total premia sales of Rs 3,243 crore of FY21, followed by 'fire' that clocked Rs 441 crore and 'health' at Rs 183 crore and 'crop' at Rs 75 crore.
He also said he wants to increase the corporate/ group sales that are only 30 per cent now with retail being the bulk 70 per cent.
Asked if the company is planning an IPO as the market is red-hot, Goyal said "not in the near future but maybe within the next two years."
The company is majority-owned by Fairfax Holdings of the Canadian NRI businessman Prem Watsa, with minority equity participation from Faering Capital, Sequoia Capital, IIFL Alternate Asset Managers, TVS Capital Funds, A91 Partners, Indian Cricket captain Virat Kohli and the employees.
Fairfax has so far infused USD 140 million into the company, which has an overall capital infusion of USD 442 million. At the latest round of USD 200 million in July, Digit was valued at USD 3.5 billion, up from USD 1.9 billion in January 2021 when it became the first insurance unicorn.
Its valuation has grown almost five times in the past one year.