Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) reported total gross non-performing assets (NPAs) at around Rs 30,000 crore as of September 2019.
The insurer's gross NPAs stood at 6.10 percent for the first six months of FY20 (April to September 2019), and have witnessed a doubling over the past five years, according to a report by Business Today.
This puts LIC, which usually had limited gross NPAs between 1.5 percent to 2 percent, in the same league as private lenders like Yes Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank. These banks ended the first half of the current fiscal year with gross NPAs at 7.39 percent, 5.03 percent and 6.37 percent respectively.
As per the report, the reason behind LIC's NPA woes are similar to those of banks, namely corporate loan defaults. Some of the big names that feature on LIC's list of major defaulters include Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), Essar Port, Videocon Industries, Bhushan Power, Deccan Chronicle, Unitech and a few others.
The state-owned insurer, which has total assets of over Rs 36 lakh crore, lends to corporates via two means- terms loans and non-convertible debentures. According to the report, LIC has both kinds of exposures in some of these defaulting companies.
The report, however, noted that LIC has already made provisions in its books for these defaults, which includes come cases where the companies have files for bankruptcy and hence would involve some write-offs where amounts owed are not received.