Reliance Life, the life insurance arm of ADAG’s Reliance Capital, says it is busy integrating the best practices of Nippon Life, its new partner. Malay Ghosh, president and executive director, talks to Niladri Bhattacharya about it. Edited excerpts:
It’s nearly a year since Nippon Life took stake in the company. How has been the integration process?
We are incorporating the best practices of Nippon Life in all aspects — product offerings, customer relations, agent management. In products, we plan to launch some unique offerings in health insurance, particularly inspired by Nippon. We have just started our health insurance business and the premium collection was Rs 21 crore in the last financial year. We have planned to launch a product where there will be no concept of a sum assured. It will be based on the concept of a ‘unit’, where each unit would entitle a policy holder to get a fixed lump sum payout, based on the type of disease. The fixed payout would be predetermined. For instance, if a customer buys one unit of the policy, the payout for, say, gall bladder surgery will be pre-determined for Rs 50,000, or Rs 2 lakh for heart disease, and so on. This coverage per disease would go up with the increase in units purchased — four units would entitle the customer Rs 8 lakh for heart disease.
Second, in all our health insurance plans, we are offering fixed premiums for three-year policies, with guaranteed renewability after every block of three years. After the end of a three-year period, the renewal premiums will be determined on the basis of the age of the policy holder and, importantly, not the claim experience.
How is Nippon influencing customer relations?
Inspired by their ‘Zutto Moto’ service in Japan (or, ‘forever service’), we have initiated a project that would develop a long-term relationship with customers. Under this, we would meet every policy holder at least once every year at his/her home for an interaction. The idea is to engage and advise him on changes in his product portfolio, after considering the changes that might have taken place in his life during the year.
What are the initiatives in agent management?
We have started two programmes for agents, again a model based on what is followed by Nippon Life — Face to Face and Career Agents. The first is a model typically for women agents, where they would be trained to service orphan policies, those not being serviced for a long time by the initial advisor or agent. Every day, she would be required to make a certain number of calls and meet customers. Here the performance would be judged on the basis of number of contacts she makes, not on the business she brings in.
Under the Career Agent programme, young graduates would be given a fixed stipend and additional incentives linked to business targets.They would be trained and provided with career paths, where successful agents could become supervisors in three years. The incentives would depend on the commissions from premiums accrued. As they are paid a fixed stipend, the commission on every products would be same. This would also incentivise these agents to sell in line with customer need. We have already recruited more than 2,000 career agents and deputed them in 100 branches.
Is Reliance Life in talks with banks for a bancassurance tie-up?
We are waiting for the final guidelines. We are talking to various banks to see if they are looking to tie up with a second partner, whenever the policy permits.