The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) is considering enabling life insurers to upskill their agents. D D Singh, member-distribution of Irdai, said they had already spoken to the National Skills Development Corporation and the BFSI Sector Skills Council to get the process started.
“The life insurers and the sector skills council will now have to take it forward,” he said. Speaking during the Fintelekt LIMRA Annual Summit, Singh added this would enable agents to obtain newer skills in related fields.
The BFSI Sector Skill Council of India was set up to bring organisations of the BFSI industry together to create strategies and operational plans that would create standardised skill requirements for the various job roles in the industry.
The skill council also accredits service providers who will partner to disseminate the training.
The Prime Minister’s Office has issued a mandate that by 2022, India should have 500 million skilled employees across various sectors.
The ministry of finance has been charged with overseeing this mandate and has established the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for this purpose.
Here, NSDC has been working with leading organisations and associations from several sectors on setting up councils to address the need for skill development.
BFSI Sector Skill Council has been set up by BSE Institute, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bombay Stock Exchange, with support from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Attrition is an area of concern for the life insurance industry, with respect to individual agents. Singh explained that as on April 1, 2015, there were 2.06 million agents. At the end of July 2015, he said this went down to 2.01 million agents.
The regulator has allowed insurers to appoint agents on their own. Earlier, these appointments were done under regulatory supervision and overview.He said in the April 1-July 31 period, life insurers were able to add 1,79,000 agents. But during the same time, 2,31,000 agents went out of the industry. “While insurers give out yearly targets to recruit new agents, deletions are happening at a faster pace,” Singh said. According to him, average earnings per agent is meagre. Data showed that while new business premium for FY15 was Rs 3.14 lakh crore, the new business commission paid was only Rs 21,000 crore.
He said insurers should also play a role in helping agents get appropriate training and skills so that they sell right and improve productivity.