Business Standard

Insurance industry likely to see skill shortage

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Courtesy the growing insurance penetration in the country, the sector is likely to face a shortage of skilled manpower, according to experts.

“Manpower requirements differ from companies to companies. In Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) alone, the current requirement is about 10,000 professionals at the administrative and clerical level,” K Venugopal, general secretary, (AIIEA), told Business Standard.

In the Indian banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, the incremental human resource requirement will be about 500,000 persons by 2020, estimates (NSDC).

The will require niche high-end skills in complex and highly-specialised areas such as risk management, credit evaluation and financial engineering.

“Also, high skills are required in making policies as per the economic status of the public, deciding premium amount, calculating the premium and even for selling polices. Demand for actuaries and professionals proficient in underwriting, claims and customer services and giving the risk solutions are in demand,” said Sanjay Datta, head (underwriting and claims), ICICI Lombard.

Currently, there are only 200-250 actuaries across insurance companies in India, besides a few lakh insurance agents. “Most of the agents become eligible to work after qualifying a small written exam done by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda). However, becoming an actuary is difficult. There are more than 1.2 million agents working for LIC, and around 800,000 in 22 other life insurance companies,” Venugopal said.

“Initially, people from across educational categories used to enter the insurance industry, Due to the huge competition among insurance companies, the focus has now been shifted towards hiring only skilled professionals with depth of industry knowledge,” said Vepa Kamesam, managing director of the Institute of Insurance and Risk Management (IIRM). IIRM is jointly set up by Irda and the Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh government to train professionals.

According to Irda's annual report 2011, the number of insurance players had increased to 48 from six players in 1999, and the insurance penetration had almost doubled to 5.10 per cent in 2010, from 2.32 per cent in 2000.

However, the penetration level is still low compared to other developed and developing countries, and there is a huge growth opportunity for the industry, which in turn will require more manpower to run the show.

“Currently, the general insurance market alone is pegged at Rs 40,000 crore and growing at 20-25 per cent year-on-year. The overall insurance sector is growing at a rapid rate. Also, many new verticals including motor, health and property are emerging. In this context, along with the growth in penetration, the demand for skilled manpower is going to be a major concern over the years,” said Rajkamal Vempati, head (human resources), Lombard General Insurance Company.

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