The vision statement of a company describes where the organization or the company wants to be by fulfilling its mission.
The vision statement of a company describes where the organization or the company wants to be by fulfilling its mission. The vision involves the customers or the community or even the entire society which is expected to experience a transformation shift to such level of product and service experience which is the most desired or the ultimate stage in an organization’s life. If Microsoft’s vision is “a computer on every desk and in every home”, the life insurance industry should visualize financial protection to all in India.
A mission statement invariably follows the vision statement for describing the ground level actions and the immediate and long term objectives for realizing the vision. Vision is the end result while mission is the route to travel till vision is realized. The insurance regulator in India, IRDAI, however, does not articulate its vision though the regulatory body has made a seven point mission statement. Hence at the regulator’s level obviously there is no clarity regarding the ultimate state of development of the industry if the entire role it envisions for itself is played effectively.
Vision of LIC
Now let us see what the insurers ultimately look forward to. The LIC of India’s vision is to be “a trans-nationally competitive financial conglomerate of significance to societies and pride of India”. LIC does not envision a future when every Indian will have at least one life insurance policy on his/her life. To realize its vision LIC’s mission is “to ensure and enhance the quality of life of people through financial security by providing products and services of aspired attributes with competitive returns and by rendering resources for economic development”.
Vision of private insurers
Now let us see what the insurers who have entered the market following liberalization have to say. “To be the most trusted and preferred life insurance provider” is the vision of the SBI Life which is among the top three private life insurers in the country.
The company’s mission comprises of “offering a comprehensive range of life insurance and pension products at competitive prices…” Insuring all the eligible people of India is therefore not the vision of the SBI Life which has the advantage of having largest network of offices across the country. SBI does possess the logistics required to reach out to a potential life insurance policyholders in any part of the country through SBI’s vast branch network.
The vision of ICICI Prulife Insurance is “to build an enduring institution that serves the protection and long term saving needs of the customers with sensitivity”. The company has not made any specific statement about mission but desires to realize its vision through five goal values viz: Integrity, Customer First, Boundary-less, Humility and Passion.
The HDFC Life is also among the early entrants into the market and by now it is a leading company. The company’s vision statement states to be “one of the most successful and admired life insurance company which mean that we are the one of the most trusted company, the easiest to deal with, offer the best value for money and set the standards in the industry. The most obvious choice for all.” HDFC Life also does not make any mission statement but talks about its values observed at work such as excellence, people engagement, integrity, customer centricity and collaboration. It seems making statements on values is the new way of making mission statement. In respect of HDFC also the urge to reach out to all the eligible people in the market is conspicuously absent.
Making a statement
Making good vision statement or mission statement is apparently not an easy task. All the companies mentioned here have projected themselves as dreamers but the vision of all of them reflects some kind of self centricity and not creating value for the vast population of India through financial protection, systematic savings and service from cradle to grave. But this is not surprising.
If we objectively analyze the achievement of the life insurance industry in India after 72 years of Independence and 19 years of the liberalization, the market has remained unexploited and unserved to a very very large extent. Reaching out to all the insurable people both female and the male in the country and providing them adequate life insurance cover and annuity plans should have been the focus of each vision statement.
In this column I wrote about lack of awareness about insurance as a cause of low penetration and poor density. The commitment has to start at the regulator’s level and then at the company’s level so that the vision for all is realized. Unfortunately today every company is strengthening its own brand but none is committed to transforming the lives of the people through life insurance.
(The writer is former MD & CEO, Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance)