China Life Q1 profit rises 17 pct on strong premium growth

* Q1 profit 6.15 bln yuan vs 5.3 bln yuan a year-earlier

* Renewal premiums leap 51.6 pct on-year

* Premiums up despite regulatory tightening

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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.

The insurer's renewal premiums soared 51.6 percent on year,

hitting 112.76 billion yuan, while first-year regular premiums

were up 17.4 percent to 60.3 billion yuan from the same period a

year earlier.

The growth comes despite last year's crackdown that saw

regulators reining in insurers' overseas acquisitions and

tightening control over the use of funds.

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 in SHANGHAI and Shu Zhang in BEIJING;

Editing by Stephen Coates and Christopher Cushing)