China Life Q1 profit rises 17 pct on strong premium growth

SHANGHAI, April 27 (Reuters) - China Life Insurance Co Ltd

, the country's biggest insurer by market

value, reported a 17.1 percent rise in first-quarter profit on

Thursday, on strong premium growth.

China Life said net profit for the quarter rose to 6.15

billion yuan ($892.24 million) in the first three months of the

year, compared with 5.3 billion yuan a year earlier.

Hong Kong-listed Chinese life insurers had average total

written premium growth of 19 percent last year, driven by almost

30 percent growth in the individual agent channel, according to

an April Moody's report.

China Life reported a lower annual profit for the first time

in four years for 2016, saying interest rates had dragged down

investment income by more than a fifth.

($1 = 6.4774 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Stephen Coates)