Most people are aware of the premium they pay and not the cover

Updated: Aug 31 2008, 08:30am hrs
The KILB advertising campaign seems to be making waves all around. And it does highlight the fact that insurance gets little attention in the entire financial planning process. In uncertain times like these, having an adequate cover for your family is extremely important. In this light, Rajiv Jamkhedkar, CEO, AEGON Religare Life Insurance, spoke with Akash Joshi of FE on the inadequacy of the cover and also on the companys plans in the life insurance sector.

First off, there are new guidelines that have been stipulated by the insurance sector regulator for capping investments in companies. Will this have any impact on your operations and plans

Not really. We are a relatively new company in this business and therefore there will be no impact for us. I think the older and established players will be impacted more.

Your company has mounted a huge media campaign, what is the strategy behind this

It is at two levels. One is the media strategy and then there is the overall vision of the company as such.

On the media front, after several surveys, we saw that the average Indian, who is aware of insurance products, is hugely under insured. People, educated and from the middle class to the rich, have little clue of the sum they have assured. It was a big revelation for us.

There are people who have covered their families for an amount that will not be able to help the family sustain a similar lifestyle in case of an unfortunate incident that takes place. And the startling point is that many people dont realise this.

When asked about describing their insurance coverage, they often arbitrarily mention some amount. Often enough, it is the amount of premium that they have paid up and not the amount of cover or protection that they would be getting.

So our campaign was targeted at creating this awareness that low insurance is no insurance. And this ties in with our vision of educating the masses and enabling them to take the right decision to plan their dreams and secure the future of their families. There is a huge amount of education that needs to be imparted in terms of financial products.

The advertising campaign was built with that intention. And we have been receiving tremendous response from people all over the country. Telephone calls have been busy since the launch of the campaign.

And what about the corporate level, what is your strategy And how would you distinguish yourself from the others in the fray

Well, on the corporate front, our broad vision is to help people in planning their life, as opposed to just selling products. Moreover, Aegon is one of the largest global players in the life insurance business and Religare has now established itself as an integrated financial services company, so we have the credibility to offer superior services. Moreover, we have established around 38 offices in around 14 states to we have the scale to serve our clients from day one. We will be using several channels to get the reach.

Overall, we will be focussing on serving quality clients and giving them quality experience.

What exactly do you mean by quality clients Could you clarify

By quality clients we mean clients from the middle and upper segments, who are doing well and hope to keep doing well. They have hopes and ambitions for themselves and their families. Moreover, these are the clients who are aware and want to take their commitment to another level. These would typically be clients who are recurring in nature and are persistent with the service providers. We will go all out to see that they have superior experience of working with us.

And how would that come through

Firstly, we believe in being in communication with our clients and we will be providing value here. Also, we have developed a sales process where the agent will be involved with a life-planner who will be able to understand the real needs of the client. They will be able to interact closely with the client to gauge the needs and then recommend products that suit their individual requirement as opposed to just selling an insurance product.

Then there are other small things like having a robust technological back up and we already have a 24X7 interactive voice response or IVR system to assist our clients on their policy details. Plus there will be a detailed medical report that will be made available as well. Essentially, there will be a lot of small things that will add up to the entire customer experience.

Now, coming to the asset management side, with the markets, both equity and bond, being volatile, what is your investment strategy How will you ensure strong returns

I might not be able to comment on the exact details at the moment, however, as a life insurance company and a long-term service provider, our approach will be to look at long-term investments. And we will be following that strategy. In the short-run there will always be some amount of volatility.

On the regulatory front, do you thing there are any changes required to expand the scope of the industry

I think the regulators themselves are thinking on these lines and I strongly believe that individual companies should build their own strategies to expand the scope rather than look to the regulator all the time.