Bancassurance which is long overdue and IRDA is working on it. Some agreement has been reached between government and IRDA and hopefully something workable comes out of it.
We have requested to see that banks open to at least four insurance companies of the same class, if not to all as a broker. Only then can a bank customer get a real choice in insurance products.
Does your foreign partner get worried about things not moving currently in India?
Nippon is 120 years old and have seen two world wars, they will not get unduly concerned about short-term fluctuations. Our relationship is truly collaborative and we have a continuous flow of information from both sides. We learn about not just their best practices but also the mistakes they have done, their technology innovations, products, training process, customer service, etc and we try and implement them here by adapting them to the Indian market.
So are there things that you have adopted from them?
We have taken a number of their best practices, mostly in the distribution and customer service area. One of them is a new distribution format called ‘Face to Face’, which is a replication of Nippon Life’s agency model.
Under this, we have currently employed 200 women employee advisors in seven cities. Aged between 30 and 40, these women are graduates and have undergone a training of 30 days. Their performance will not be measured on how many policies they have sold but on how many activities they have done, customers met, service requests taken up and completed and how many policies sold. Nippon Life has around 50,000 women working under this model in Japan. We have begun with 200 women but it will grow in the coming months.