Those who measure a brand’s profile through its advertising may find the Life Insurance of India, or LIC, to be a case that proves to the contrary. Often decried for its tacky advertising especially at a time when younger and agile rivals are constantly churning out eye catching commercials, LIC continues to be the brand with highest recall among life insurance consumers. The insurance sector opened up for competition in year 2000 and there are around 24 companies operating in the life insurance segment.
However even after 14 years of competition from a bunch of top league global as well as local insurance sellers, LIC retained its market share of 75.33% in premiums collected and 84.44% in number of policies sold in 2013-14. The brand recall, clearly, translates into transactions, too. LIC, for instance, is also the largest insurer in the country serving more than 300 million policies. The asset base of the corporation is $287 billion or R 18 lakh crore. The organisation employs more than 1,20,000 employees all across the country. There are around 1.2 million selling LIC policies across the country. The company has around 5000 outlets across the country.The company believes that happy consumers are the best advertising a company can ever produce.
“We take pride in our excellent claim settlement ratio which was 99.68% for the year 2013-14. We settled 2.59 crore claims amounting to R91,186.45 crore,” said a company spokesperson. At a time when the insurance sector decelerated, LIC has shown all-round growth in policies sold, premium income generated and operations such as claims settlement, productivity of agents, persistency, etc., the spokesperson added.While LIC maintains its trust among older customers, it is now trying to strike a chord with younger consumers through new media. LICs Facebook page ‘LICIndiaforever’ has a fan base of more than 2.4 million.
Our panelist—a specialist in marketing strategy and international business, Professor Arvind Sahay of IIM Ahmedabad says: “LIC is an ever green brand and one that many others can only aspire to be. It is perennially in the top ten. The trust that it enjoys is just phenomenal and flows from its 99% claim settlement within 15 days and an agent force that is able to sell on a personal basis to customers. The fact that insurance in India is a savings product helps.”
Another panelist Shripad Nadkarni, founder and director, MarketGate Consulting agrees. “The LIC agent network and their solid understanding of this business means that they remain India’s favourite life insurance brand.” he says.
LIC makes serious investments into brand building. It, for instance, spends upwards of R200 crore annually on advertising and reaches out to customers in all parts of the country through small town festivals and short movies in film theatres to improve awareness about insurance.
As for its somewhat underwhelming advertising, the company argues that it caters to consumers from different social and economic backgrounds and hence, the advertising has to be such that it appeals to even those at the bottom of the ladder. The criticism notwithstanding, the advertising has brought in goods results for the company and inspired confidence among consumers with its tagline that says: ‘With you, during life. And with you, after life’.