1. Insurers go for internal promotions to tide over skills crunch

Insurers go for internal promotions to tide over skills crunch

Faced with acute shortage of skilled manpower in specialised roles, the insurance industry is trying to address the problem by nurturing talent internally.

By: | Mumbai | Published: September 4, 2016 5:02 PM
This is despite the fact that the remuneration is better than other sectors with average annual hikes of around 9 per cent. (Reuters) This is despite the fact that the remuneration is better than other sectors with average annual hikes of around 9 per cent. (Reuters)

Faced with acute shortage of skilled manpower in specialised roles, the insurance industry is trying to address the problem by nurturing talent internally.

According to insurance industry estimates, around 10,000 people are recruited annually, but insurers are unable to fill up around 25 per cent vacancies falling under specialised categories like underwriting, claims handling and reinsurance, among others.

This is despite the fact that the remuneration is better than other sectors with average annual hikes of around 9 per cent.

The insurance industry employs around 4 lakh people, with 70 per cent of them being employed by the life players.

“The insurance industry is short of talent. There has not been much addition to the talent pool in line with the industry growth.

“The deficit is largely in core insurance expertise that is required for underwriting, claims handling and reinsurance. We also see shortage in areas like actuarial and risk management,” New India Assurance Chairman G Srinivasan told PTI.

We also see shortage in areas like actuarial and risk management,” New India Assurance Chairman G Srinivasan told PTI.

He partly blamed lack of academic focus and training for the problem, saying that “apart from the National Insurance Academy and a few institutions, we have not seen insurance being given focus in universities”.

National Insurance Chairman Sanath Kumar said, “We are unable to get nearly 25 per cent of our requirement in specialised areas like actuarial every year and hence we go by way of nurturing talent internally.”

He said his company has a strong system of internal promotions.

“We nurture talent through a programme of giving them operating charges and also a well structured internal promotion programme.

Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Chief Executive Anuj Agarwal also emphasised on internal training and promotions to tide over the shortage.

“We emphasise a lot on internal movement of manpower. Last year, over 20 per cent positions were closed internally through a robust and transparent internal job postings platform,” he said.

SBI General’s Chief Executive Pushan Mahapatra said areas like qualified actuaries and high quality technical talent with relevant experience require efforts in sourcing talent, given their limited numbers.

SBI General is keenly exploring talent at entry level and is hiring from reputed institutions of tier-II and III cities.

“To meet middle management requirements, our primary focus is largely on providing growth opportunities to in-house talent who have made their mark and have excelled in their work,” he added.

Blaming the shortage to lack of interest in the industry, SBI Life’s Chief Executive Arijit Basu said insurance is one of the less preferred sectors in the job market.

“And a part of the blame should be with us as we have not done enough to highlight the advantage of working in the insurance industry and the worst dearth is in the specialised areas like actuarial,” he said.

Bajaj Allianz General Chief Executive Tapan Singhel wondered why the industry is not able to attract enough talent despite better pay scale.

“Over the past few years, remuneration in the insurance industry has been better than other sectors like IT and ITes, telecom or banking but still our industry does not attract enough talent,” he rued.

Annual increments offered in the life insurance industry have been stable for the past two-three years, with average hikes in the range of 8-9 per cent, Basu of SBI Life concurred.

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