With women officers already heading most of its subsidiaries, the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is continuing with the trend to place them in bigger roles.
The trend began with the appointment of Usha Sangwan as the first woman managing director a couple of years ago. The insurance behemoth has elevated two more women officers to the top levels in the current fiscal.
While Sarojini Dikhale has taken over as the chief executive of LIC Nomura Mutual Fund, Mini Ipe has been elevated as head of LIC HFL Financial Services, which distributes the products of the Corporation with a focus on home loan sales.
Dikhale has taken charge from July 1 from the HR department. Ipe, who was earlier with the real estate department, too assumed office in the same period.
Sunita Sharma is already heading LIC Housing Finance, with its business growing 20 per cent to Rs 30,327 crore as of 2014-15 over 2013-14.
Dikhale was also one of the candidates who appeared for the interview for the post of the fourth MD of LIC on July 15. The government is yet to announce the name of the selected person.
Padmaja Bhaskaran has completed three years as managing director and chief executive of LIC Credit Card.
“LIC has been the employer of choice for both men and women. The contribution the Corporation has made towards nation-building over the years has been tremendous,” Sangwan, who also heads the HR department of the Corporation which employs over 2 lakh people, said.
Sangwan said that LIC always offers a level-playing field, and this is more obvious now as women officers have climbed to the top positions in the country’s largest insurer.
“Our women leaders who are heading the subsidiaries have been game-changers and are achievers in their own right,” she said.
However, she clarified that there is no design in elevating women officials.
“LIC has a culture and history of gender equality. Elevations in career and assigning of various portfolios are done as a matter of merit, identified through a comprehensive and transparent selection process. Therefore there is no design in these appointments,” she said.
“We are gender-neutral. We have three criteria for elevating our staff — suitability, merit and seniority,” she added.
There is no gender-based discrimination at LIC, she asserted. “At workplace, we don’t find any discrimination. But for women, I personally feel that it’s a question of balancing personal and professional lives.”
At the national level, officers gets transferred upon every promotion. Sometimes women have to decide for themselves about the priorities vis a vis family and career, Sangwan said.
She also hinted at LIC designing specific products for women in future. “We are a marketing organisation. We have got over 30 crore policies now. Since almost 50 per cent of insurable population are women, we can design specific products for them.”