ICICI Lombard's Q4 profit rises on higher premiums earned

A man walks past a billboard of Indian insurer ICICI Lombard in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's ICICI Lombard General Insurance reported a nearly 19% rise in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, helped by an increase in premiums at its motor and health insurance units.

Profit after tax rose to 5.20 billion Indian rupees ($62.18 million) for the quarter ended March 31 from 4.37 billion rupees a year earlier, the company said in an exchange filing.

ICICI Lombard, which is backed by ICICI Bank, also offers marine and crop insurance among others.

India saw continued momentum in vehicle sales in the fourth quarter after an earlier boost during a festive period. There was also a sharp growth in the number of health insurance policies sold in the country in fiscal 2024.

Motor insurance, ICICI Lombard's biggest segment, contributed more than 50% to the total premiums earned and grew around 7% in the fourth quarter, while premiums from its fastest-growing health insurance unit rose 36%.

The company's net premiums earned during the quarter rose 17.2% to 43.68 billion rupees, while claims rose 23%.

ICICI Lombard's income from investments rose 24.4% to 7.66 billion rupees as markets hit several record highs during the March quarter.

Combined ratio, a key profitability metric for an insurance firm's underwriting business, improved to 102.2% from 104.2% a year earlier.

The combined ratio measures incurred losses and operating expenses as a percentage of premiums collected. It does not take into account income from investments.

($1 = 83.6263 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nishit Navin and Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)