* 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 (Adds details)
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